Thursday, August 16, 2018

Let's Talk About Plums

I have strong feelings about the foods I eat.  I can talk about bananas, avocados, pancakes and eggs for days at a time. For instance, if i were to talk about eggs, I'd make a special announcement to the world that I have finally MASTERED the poached egg this summer.  And I couldn't feel more accomplished. I've been giving it a frustrated go off and on over a period of years. Every time I go out for brunch, which I love to do, I get eggs--more specifically, the eggs benedict. Because of the poached egg. If I order a poached egg at a restaurant I will also order something to eat it with, or under with.  Something to go under it, like hash browns or toast.  If the yolk in the egg is not runny I will send it back because a poached egg with a solid yolk is one sad golden mistake.  

 My issue was I would make it in a little pot and that means I can only have one egg at a time. This is unacceptable. So I taught myself to do it in a pan, one of Sean's good ones ("It may be that I refer to it as Excalibur") and I also finally freaking learned the water has to be REALLY HOT. Not simmering like I thought but sufficiently boiling.  And I can make five--FIVE at a time.  Maybe six but i've never needed that many.  Two for me, two for Julian, and one for Sean (lightweight).  It's glorious and my favorite breakfast. And this means I don't have to order the eggs when I'm out because I can make beautiful ones on my own four times a week.

Additionally, if i were to talk about eggs, which isn't really what this post is about, I'd show you my amazing eggs and how I can make them JUST how i want, almost every single time. ALL FIVE.  And I might mention that when I make especially beautiful ones I take pictures to send to Sean, so that he too may revere:  {cry face}


 There's a little overcrowding there but I don't care; two is my minimum. One just forces me to dream about another egg for the rest of the day, but two-- two gets me by until tomorrow.  

But I really didn't come here to talk about eggs.  I've really been diving deep into the seasonal food this summer. Berries? YES, don't stop.  Peaches? Keep 'em coming. You know they won't last. Peaches for every meal.  And the unsung hero of the stone fruits (not looking at you, nectarine--never you): the delicious, ever-fleeting PLUM.  Does anybody ever really know what a plum tastes like? The time they are at their best, their proper and truest form is so short, I'm convinced there aren't many in the world who really know.  And even if you do get your hands on some good plums when the time is ripe (heh), it lasts but a few days only (in my experience) and I don't eat nearly enough to really solidify its flavor in my taste-memory.   Fortunately, stumbling into the Costco this morning brought me one glorious silver or perhaps purplish lining and that was the plum, and that I was forced to buy a ton of them, because Costco.  When I love a thing I give myself no limits until I'm forced to. So it's been a beautiful day of eating plums one right after the other because they are so magically delicious (is this from Lucky Charms? {thinking emoji}) and they won't last long. 

PLUMS.  What is that other-worldly flavor? I honestly feel like I've discovered a new amazing fruit. It's almost a daily conversation in our house, of wondering what it was like when people were trying foods for the first time to see if they're any good.  Eating grapes vs. pill bugs, for instance (Sean's example) and who were the fortunate ones or the poor suckers who had to go first.  

YOU GUYS! I have found a new fruit! I discovered it in a plastic container in a giant warehouse supermarket, atop a heap of crates and containers and surrounded by a million more! It's round, like an apple, but with soft, purple flesh! You cut it in half and twist and it tears easily from the stone inside! The flesh is this strange, pale iridescence and it's so good, I think it's replaced what was, for me, the front-runner of what I imagine the forbidden fruit to be, which was the Asian pear.  No! It must have been something like the plum.  For eating them is revelation, knowledge and wisdom combined. 

Ok, this is getting out of hand.   But srsly, they are sooooo goood.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Summer Reading: The Martian Chronicles

Wow, here we are into August already.  I won't do an eternal summer catch-up (I'll probably save that for the big summer clump at the end) but if I were to describe this summer I'd say it's been a fairly lazy one, lightning fast, with a few fun things thrown in.  If travel is in question my answer is always YES A THOUSAND TIMES but we haven't done much this summer. A couple of camp trips and a week in CA. But it's ok. Mostly.  I do love the chilled-out vibe.  Julian's taken a tennis class, an art class, and a lego class which he loved more than anything on this green earth (the lego one) and clocked in approximately 80,000 hours of lego time. Can't argue with that.  We eat out on the grass when we can, go on early scooter adventures before it gets too hot, I've started up "movie afternoons with Jen and Julian" where we watch weird things like an old Beethoven biopic and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It's pretty great.

It's also, as mentioned, been the summer of Ray Bradbury.  The next book I read after Fahrenheit was The Martian Chronicles.  These are short stories that sometimes play off each other-- keeping some of the same components but on the whole, tell a separate story-- about what it would be like if people lived on Mars.  In the very first story, humans land on Mars and it's amazing! Miraculous! Man's greatest achievement! The big moment! They meet Martians who basically live in a very similar way as humans, in communities and homes, with similar relationships and mundanity. (note to self: use mundanity more)  But the martians they meet are not impressed whatsoever. It's the first time humans have landed on their planet and they are bored and the human astronauts just do not get it.  One martian tells them to go talk to another who passes them onto another, like paperwork at the office nobody wants to do.  They eventually are interviewed by someone who seems somewhat interested in what they have to say, who then puts them into a room/facility(?) with other people where the humans eventually realize it's an insane asylum.  The Martians live in a reality where if something doesn't make sense, it must not be real, and if it's not real, they must not be real, and they end up shooting themselves because why not? if they're not real? It's extremely disturbing but sets a marvelous tone for what you would NEVER expect a "humans land on Mars" book to be.  Like, ohhh. That's how it is. The feeling you get when you discover something new and assume it's within a certain context of a reality you understand but then realize that is absolutely FALSE and you are a million miles away from where you thought you were and you're left floundering, grappling as to even know where to begin. You know, when that happens.  I love it.

Other stories take place in the context of Martian civilizations long been killed off or made extinct for some reason or another. Towns are empty. Humans live there for hundreds of years, but then there's this big war on Earth that requires all the humans home so only two are left.  And what would that be like? A deserted, post-apocalyptic or at least post-inhabitated Mars is not a premise I would ever consider. But Ray does, oh yes he does. 

One of my very favorites though was about two priests instructed to bring religion to the Martians who aren't necessarily corporeal, whose means of communication are a total mystery. The humans have no idea how to introduce such a concept to them so they're given all kinds of instructions but also questions to consider:  How do you teach about sin? Adam and Eve? Does that apply to a different planet? What is "sin" to them? Is it the same? Does this concept exist? How would one be held accountable? Do religious laws on Earth apply to Mars? Not to mention within Catholicism.  It's good stuff.  One of the priests, Father Peregrine, seems a bit more lax and hopeful about things while the other, Father Stone, is much more rigid and afraid and stressed. An excerpt delighted me and resounded with me and the way I view God:

At nightfall Father Peregrin and Father Stone were high in the hills.  They stopped and sat upon a rock to enjoy a moment of relaxation and waiting.  The Martians had not as yet appeared, and they both felt vaguely disappointed.

"I wonder--" Father Peregrine mopped his face.  "Do you think if we called 'Hello!' they might answer?"

"Father Peregrine, won't you ever be serious?"

"Not until the good Lord is.  Oh, don't look so terribly shocked, please.  The Lord is not serious.  In fact, it is a little hard to know just what else He is except loving.  And love has to do with humor, doesn't it? For you cannot love someone unless you put up with him, can you?  And you cannot put up with someone constantly unless you can laugh at him.  Isn't that true? And certainly we are ridiculous little animals wallowing in the fudge bowl, and God must love us all the more because we appeal to his humor." 

Isn't that great? Isn't that a fantastic way to view God? Someone who isn't laughing at us, but laughing with us, He swears! Just as you'd say to a little child who is making you laugh with all her struggling and frustrations. You adore them, you want to help them, but you can't help but laugh a little.

I love space/other worlds stuff and I love philosophy and if you do too, read this book today. Also, either I chose the books by coincidence or Ray Bradbury loves to talk about summer in everything he writes, which was exactly what I wanted to do this summer: Read about it.  His descriptions have been transportive.  Thanks, Ray.

So anyway, hey, August.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer Reading: Fahrenheit 451

A while ago, a friend tagged me on the facebook to participate in a new internet game where you ruin books by changing one letter, essentially*. This is my favorite kind of activity and I cracked my knuckles and took a quick gander.   Here were some of mine:

1.  The Mall of the Wild- Hot Topic is the last thing you'd need to worry about at this mall...

2. Jake Eyre- Jane's secret brother with an even creepier, darker past

My hilarious and ingenious friend Val added a synopsis:   

In this hilarious family romp, there's Bertha in the attic, being a madwoman and creeping around starting fires, and there's Jake in the basement, stealing food and playing whatever is the Victorian version of video games. Watch what happens when they accidentally meet during their nighttime ramblings!
3.  Animal Fart- a guidebook to get you through the tedium of pet ownership.

This one's Sean's: 
 4. Wart and Peace: coming to terms with your dermatological conditions
And finally: 
5. Fahrenheit 51- the temperature at which nothing burns, and things are kinda chilly actually.

Val's tagline: Is this thing even on? 

This summer, I've decided to dive right into Ray Bradbury. I'm on my third book now and am enjoying myself immensely.  The first book I took on, and the only one of his I'd read previously, was Fahrenheit 451. I read it as a high schooler and it was one of the few books I legit enjoyed amongst all the required reading.  (Also, blogger is not recognizing "amongst" as a word. What's that about, Blogger.)

The book is shorter than I remember. And the more I learn about Mr. Bradbury, the more interested I become. For example, I discovered he may be really more of a short storyist (technical term) and before all this, I wasn't so interested in them, or didn't quite get them.  But I think I may now be beginning to understand.  So Fahrenheit was originally a short story and he expanded it to make a novel and perhaps more publishable. 

The book takes place in future time when books are banned and instead of putting them out, firemen (I'd say "firefighter" to be PC but let's be honest, that wasn't a thing when this was written, which was 1953) are employed to actually start fires and burn books and possibly the homes containing them, and on occasion the home/book-owner who dwells there, who'd rather burn with their books than live without them, something always puzzling but not too alarming to these firemen. 

Guy Montag, our lead character and fireman, doesn't give it a second thought until he comes across a mysterious girl named Clarisse, out for a night walk to apparently do nothing but enjoy a stroll and her surroundings, something apparently extremely odd and highly unsettling for people at this time. Well, it gets Guy thinking, and the more he thinks, the more disturbed he becomes.  And the more this happens, the more he sees that the things going on around him are just not ok, and he feels compelled to fight them. In short, he becomes "woke," you might say.  He gets his hand on a book, sneaks it to his home, can't resist reading it and others. Experiences that crazy feeling of illumination when a person gains knowledge. Realizes he has absolutely no connection to his wife who is decidedly unwoke. He finds people like him and with their help, fights the system, and joins up with other underground readers.

It's really a nice simple read. The things that strike me are of course the themes, but I always love these dystopian societal sci-fi reads because, in my opinion, they create world for people to gain some context as to just what it would be like if things were to be a certain way. If this was the new ideology. If new laws like this or that were in place.  And it serves as a frightening, screaming warning. Never to be ignored.   And it's all in the details.

For example:  In his home and apparently every home, instead of reading, people watch TV. And they have multiple TV's.  I'm not sure if it's just one room with TV's on every wall or if they're all over the house, but I think that's the goal, and this strikes me, especially as I see the technology get closer and closer to reality, from how things were in 1953 and even 1996, when I read it. Guy's wife seems to be quite addicted to the people on these televisions, who she calls her "family," and who spout nothing but dramatic nonsense. Empty and designed to do nothing but keep a person's mind fixated on something so as to not give a chance to rest on something that might truly matter.  And whenever she's away from these screens, all she can think about is getting back. Hmmm. 

Moreover, I'm intrigued by the way characters' attitudes and capacities for individual and critical thinking warp and diminish.  In this Fahrenheit society, people seem to lose the ability to simply pause and reflect, something Clarisse teaches Guy to do. To look around you and just take the world in.  To question things you've never questioned before and to not just automatically accept everything presented.  That not everything common is good.    All of this is looking more and more like prophecy unfolding, to me.  How everyone drives insanely and recklessly fast but that's just like, what you do.   The other day I was driving on ye olde freeway, noticing how the speed limit has climbed higher since the old days. How 80mph was like, really fast back then and how today it's the norm.   The pulse of the world is quickening, the synapses firing more rapidly, and I'm getting a little scared it's going to build and build and something, in some way or another, is going to come to a dangerous, possibly explosive end.  Things will start breaking down. People might start breaking down.  

Is this what Ray saw? (We're friends now) Is this what he was noticing? I can't believe this was written over 50 years ago. Though the implications are a major downer and eerily and uncomfortably on the mark these days, I'm actually not terribly scared of the world I live in. I am surrounded by what I perceive to be by many, attitudes of fear and the separating of oneself from the big bad scary world, and I've decided to take a more active and vocal approach to enjoying the world I live in while still maintaining my own deliberate and carefully selected ideals. That the world is actually still good and it's not me vs. them.  But reading stuff like this definitely acts as a warning for myself to do just that-- uphold the precepts according to which I live my life. Question what's happening around me. Not accept everything even if it becomes scarily, stealthily normalized. Appreciate the beauty and the forgotten remarkable like Clarisse does. To continue to learn to differentiate and discern, and perhaps above all else--to keep reading the books.  

Thanks, Ray. 

*please feel free to come up with some of your own. I honestly could do this kind of thing all the live long day. Reminds me of this similar game and one quite relevant to the book at hand.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Annie Lennox Gets Me Through My Day

Yesterday was winding to the last quarter and I felt myself feeling somewhat agitated. The day had been fine, I'd gotten a lot done, but as I reflected it consisted mostly of menial tasks and general mindlessness, save for a few pockets here and there of meaningful conversation and worthwhile endeavors. So I was kind of perplexed as to my state.  After dinner, feeling increasingly aggravated, I told/demanded Sean it was time for a game. If I go too long without one, or fun in general, this can be the cause of my agitation.  We chose Rummikub and as we began to play, we continued a conversation we'd been having over the course of several days, of what makes Annie Lennox so good.    

A few months ago, my best music friend Dom invited me to play with him at a house party in the SLC. He had a few songs we had done together as well as a few new songs-- some original, some covers, and one of the covers was Annie's Why.  Playing it with him was a revelation, a remembrance and a coming to myself. For once upon a time, a teenage Jen was watching VH1 or MTV and would sit and silently fall in love as Annie Lennox's songs came on with her accompanying wacky vids.   

Dom and I hadn't had much time to practice together so as I figured out my piano chords and listened to Dom sing and play on his guitar, I realized I had forgotten how good this music was.  "Dom!" I gasped. "This is such a good song!"  "Yep," said he.  And I had forgotten that I had loved her music quite intensely, once upon a time, and with Dom's lovely interpretation, I played through the magic of that same love being unfolded to me. 

 As Sean and I played our game I expressed to him that the reason why I felt the way I felt was because I hadn't done anything creative in a while, and as we blasted the song on the speakers, I expressed how much I miss playing music with people. I miss it so much, and I love it so much that to simply bring about the memory of it makes my eyes tear up. Also it's not hard to feel emotional when a glorious soundtrack plays out your feelings, as she always will.   Sean is my favorite person with whom to discuss art and music and anything, and we went into all the reasons why:

"She's edgy. She's a rocker. She's unique. She's also an artist and a poet. She's an orchestrator, she is un-formulaic.  She has emotions, anger, and she needs to get it out. And in so doing, draws out yours, like a deep and troubled well.  And on top of all that, oh, here's this incredibly beautiful melody." 

So, the culmination and good news is thus:

1. We analyzed all the game through, and we carefully selected other songs after and analyzed those, and by the end of the game, I was all played out.  I felt a lot better and thanked Sean for playing with me.  

2. Today I thought more about it and put Why on again in the car and blasted it through the car wash where I made a mental note to always have a car wash soundtrack.  Or maybe it's a music video of my own? 

3.  I sang her song over and over, and took it with me to Costco, my dreaded foe.  And when the old woman in line in front me of me said, "Don't you like how there's nothing in my cart?"  I replied, "yes! You did it! Congratulations! You came to Costco and got NOTHING."  We laughed, and she said she'd come with her sister and ended up with nothing in her cart but her purse and I told her, "Yup, you win. And it's always good to have something to lean on." 

4. You know what this means, don't you? That more than one good band/artist came out of the 90's.  I recently told someone who wasn't too familiar with the decade that the only good music i could think of was the Cranberries. But I had forgotten about Annie. And lest you do too, here are two of my faves. But before I do, what do you love that you've forgotten you loved? And maybe recently rediscovered that love and found it to be unchanged, in spite of all the time between? 

I have dreams to choreograph dancers to certain songs and No More I Love You's is one of them. 


Monday, May 07, 2018

The Golden Side of Eight

When Julian was seven almost eight, I mourned the last little trailings of his little kidhood. In my mind, 7 was the end and 8 was a new chapter. And I still think I'm right.  And I thought, I bet it'll be ok, there have got to be good things about the new phase, but I thought it consisted of fart jokes and incessant minecraft stories.  And again, I was right.  

BUT-- something else happened. I don't know what-- I think I'm too scared to say it so I'll just blog it-- I think he...matured? A little? Grew out of some things that were making me {dead, exes for eyes emoji: repeat 3 times}.  But one day I woke up and something was different. Julian was calmer, more patient, less quick to turn into Mt. Saint Julian (a volcano, to be clear). He was chiller, cooler, and with that, smarter, funnier, WITTIER.  The jokes, they were flying and I found myself legit-laughing like I had never legit-laughed before with a kid. I always thought he was funny and weird but now it seems the gap between our mentalities(?) has closed even more. And I'm loving it. To celebrate this blessed, blessed change (praises to the heavens above, amen), I'm going to put in some Julian quotes.  Happy Golden Days of Eight to us all:

  • One night he was sitting atop the stairs prepping for bed and needed a cup for his bathroom. Sean was at the foot, trying to toss one up to him and kept just missing the top so the cup would bounce back down the stairs. This happened several times until Julian, sitting quietly observing, finally declared, "My dad, everyone."   I DIED.  Sean even did too. Insults are always allowed in this house if they're good.  I always got the feeling the funnier kids were given certain leeway because adults are secretly delighted. Now I know I'm right. 

  • This one was for me. He and I were playing legos and he bent a little person in half and said, 
"Look at this Lego, she's inappropriately mooning you."
I replied, "What does it look like to appropriately moon someone"
Missing no beats he said, "Well, I'll show you!" and proceeded to stand up and pull down his shorts. Once again, I had to allow it because I set myself right up.The beautiful thing was he hadn't even intended for any kind of set-up. He was just lightning fast, and I couldn't be more proud.

  • I mentioned sometimes wanting another kitten and he said, "If we had a girl cat that could have kittens, I'd name it something like Sharlene."   I don't know if this totally rando-name was chosen as a cat name or mom name but it's pretty perfect.  

  • Julian got sick a few weeks ago and it was a doozy. The worst he's ever had it. He came home one day vigorously ringing the doorbell even though the door was unlocked. I opened it and he bolted in saying, "I need to wash my mouth first."  What in the world? After doing so he said to me, "Well, I guess I'd better start from the beginning."  All of it was so funny to me. I was dying the whole time. Apparently he'd thrown up at school, felt ok, and then walked home where he threw up several more times. Sad! I think he's hit a certain rite of passage with that one.  He then puked the remainder of the afternoon and the next morning.  Total and complete misery.   During times like this, the drama is real (and trauma):
"I'm happy for the people that can't feel pain"
"I feel like the earth is going to rip open and I'm going to get sucked down and shoot straight to the core. I think gravity just increased."   
I believe this was his interpretation of experiencing a fever in addition to all the other horribleness. 

  • (I don't know why i'm using bullets this way. It's not working very well) One day we were sitting together chatting and he said,

    "Sometimes I get tired of my vision being stuck in these two little circles.  I just want to be OUT in the world. I feel like I have an inner me that is more than my skeleton and bones and body. I guess that's my spirit. But I feel like I'm trapped by something."
Quotes like these are always a little unsettling but at the same time, I can remember feeling things like this. Little existential moments in childhood. So really, very wise.

  • This one just makes good sense:
"Any house that's empty is haunted."

This last one is a Sean quote but was so upsetting I thought it needed to be included.  The slight pause in the middle made it particularly jolting. He was in the kitchen cooking and said,

"Sometimes I like coleslaw as much cream."

Whaa-NO, ew.  That was my reaction too. A little recoiling, minor disgust. It's not that I dislike cole slaw but to have it compared to ice cream..?? Just... just no.  He's out of his mind.  In fact, they must be polar opposites. From now on, if anyone asks me what the opposite of ice cream is, I'll have my answer.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Weird Side

Several days ago, Julian and I picked my mom up in the car for an IHop breakfast. Grandma loves her harvest grain pancakes.  It's fun because I think she loves pancakes just as much as I do, or perhaps it's the other way around.  We discussed our mutual love over breakfast, and how there are some places where we order the same thing every time and we don't care if it's boring because it's always what we want and we never regret it.  Another example is Coldstone, and how we both get the chocolate ice cream + banana each and every time. 

In the car ride, she mentioned that apparently April is Frog Month and asked Julian what he thought about that. He didn't have much of an opinion other than wondering what that could possibly mean--like, are they everywhere? do they shoot up out of the chimney??  And i said something about a pestilence which then, naturally, led to a discussion on how completely disgusting x a million frogs are.  I went to a frog exhibit at the Natural History Museum in NY like 14 years ago and among the cool frogs in the tanks were displays of info and facts and each one I read made me want to ralph harder than the last. I left the exhibit pretty shook up, to be honest.   I gave my mom and Julian an example of their utter repulsion by recounting this story I had the misfortune of stumbling upon.  Thoroughly grossed out, they wondered aloud why God would make such a thing to which Julian replied, 

"Maybe he has a weird side." 

Which made us laugh and concur.  He definitely does. Also reminded me of this conversation.  

But for some reason, every now and then frogs keep hopping into my life and I don't know why.  Whatever the case, happy Frog Month, I guess, everyone. If you'd like to celebrate in a less vile, more enjoyable way, click here for what remains the best thing in my life.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Miss Communication

Every once in a while I hop onto Bored Panda and see what there is with which to entertain myself.  My favorite things are real stories from real people. Some are embarrassing moments, some are photos of heartwarming gestures of kindness, some are passive aggressive notes. Or photos of cats proving they're actually liquid (click). 

I love it all.    Recently I was scrolling through funny stories from the work place (click here) and I screen captured one in particular because I loved it so much and will now relay to you here. A submitter describes:

I used to work as a photographer in a studio next to an opticians office.  I once managed to have a long conversation with an older man looking for glasses, without either of us realizing he was in the wrong place.

HIM: Hi, I'm Mr. [McFakenamington], here for my appointment.
ME: Huh, that's odd...I don't see you on our schedule.  I have time for a walk-in though, just fill in this paperwork.

We have a little chat about possible clerical errors that could lead to a missing appointment as he's filling in his paper.  I chalk it up to human error and tell him we can get started in a few minutes anyway. 

HIM (after a brief silence): So about how long do these appointments take?
ME: Well, generally it takes 1 to 2 hours for the whole process. Really depends on the person.
HIM: Wow, that's a long time...
ME: Well, if it's just you it shouldn't take so long.  The long appointments tend to be families with children.  The most time consuming thing is picking out the ones you like.
HIM: And after I've chosen, do you make them here? When can I pick them up?
ME: We send out your order to our lab and it comes back here in a week or two.
HIM (looking around): Do you have frames I can look at?
ME: Not really. We've got some pre-framed products but generally customers buy their own frames from somewhere else.
HIM: That's ridiculous! How could you not sell frames here?!
ME: Well...there are some in [adjacent department store] if you don't have any around the house. Frames are really not so hard to come by. I mean, you can even get them at [nearby pharmacy].
HIM: But you'd at least set up the frames for me, right?
ME: Sorry, no...but for most frames it's pretty straightforward.  Usually it's just a couple simple latches in the back.  I can't imagine i'd be better at it than you, or anyone else for that matter.
HIM: I don't even get to try anything on today? How will I know how it looks? How do you get the size right for the frames if I don't have them?
ME:  I'm sorry sir, I really don't follow.
HIM (practically yelling): So you just want me to buy glasses I've never seen for frames I don't have, and I have to frame them myself?!?

At this point it dawns on me.  I explain that I'm a photographer, point to the photos hanging up around the studio.  I tell him that optical is next door. He looks sheepish, and I walk out with him to make sure he gets to the right place.  

This entire conversation occurred while I was under a sign that said "Portrait Studio" in a room filled with photos of families.  I guess the poor guy really needed those glasses.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Isn't it amazing? All of the overlaps? Frames? "you can even find some at the pharmacy," --which is true! {giant, closed eyes smile}  It reminds me of a little miscommunication of my own that still makes me laugh when i think back on it.

The scene: A movie theater, during the college days. It was me and my sister, Ashley. The movie was Four Feathers.  All I really remember about this movie is it was a war movie(?) and sort of band of brothers-y. Pretty cheesy film, over-the-top. The movie had just ended and we were chatting as the lights came on and people started exiting the theater. Dialogue goes something like this:

SIS: So what did you think?

ME: I dunno, it was ok. Pretty epic.

SIS: Yeah, I think the director was Oscar Hungry.

ME: Who is that?

SIS: You know, he was Oscar Hungry. 

ME: You say that like I'm supposed to know what it means. I don't know who that is. What other movies has he done? 
 This ordinarily wouldn't have lasted as long as it, I don't think, did but it was noisy and we couldn't hear each other well, there was the commotion of everyone filing out, and we were distracted.  So amid the distraction, we continued to try to have this conversation, each becoming more and more confused, and I more frustrated.


SIS (stares): Oscar-hungry. He's hungry...for an OSCAR!!

ha ha ha! Oh man. Yeah. It took me way too long.  Such a good one, though. Things like this are my very favorite.  And every once in a while Oscar Hungry pops up and we scoff at his lame attempts to make a decent film.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Pack Cat

My cat lives inside the couch.  He'd made a home for himself already in the blue loveseat upstairs which we had to mend with black upholstery material Sean happened to have on hand, along with  a nail gun. I didn't realize he'd done the same thing with the big couch downstairs until this morning when I heard and, rather, felt him scrambling around inside of it.  What he does is tear a hole in the underside of the couch and then crawls up there in his little cat cave. He usually stays still but maybe he has more room with the larger gray couch.  Whatever the case, all i know is I'm sitting on it, bouncing around like a fool because this psychotic feline enters a world he thinks no one knows about and lives to be its conqueror.  I find myself start to pound on it from the outside-- "get outta there!"  As if.  And I know that if I feel around with my hands, on the outside, he'll send the claws straight out. He's out of his mind. I just hope he's not also a hoarder.  A pack cat, if you will.

Friday, March 02, 2018

40 Reasons Why

This pic looks a little sad, like we had a party and no one came. False!

Well, the day has finally come. When we were first married I remarked to him that I couldn't wait until he was 40 because I thought he'd be so handsome and apparently i've got a certain age-type.  Because I am superficial and these things are extremely important to me. And, turns out, I was RIGHT.   I've been waiting and waiting, watching his handsomeness only increase with each passing year and we finally made it.  I'm pretty happy, so, yay for me. 

His bday was last week. I thought I might make a list of 40 reasons why Sean is the greatest but how about instead I just write a blog post with at least 40 sentences and a few pics thrown in.

First, to kick off the descent into old age, we celebrated by going sledding in the mountains and Sean cracking some ribs on the very first run.   I have no pictures of this because it would have probably felt insensitive to whip out my phone after watching him fly down an overly steep mountainside, bash into a jutting rock with great force, and basically fold clear in half.  Glasses flying, he keeled over, lying still, and all may have been lost. Was it his back? His neck? All the terrible things come forward at once.  Thankfully, (and still with fingers crossed) it seems he may have hurt his ribs something fierce and really bashed himself up internally. He was completely immobilized for a couple of days which I spent trying to teach Julian how to show the proper respect and attitude during scary moments. Chatty McChatterson up there on the slope giving his own prognoses and commentary on the situation.  Anyway, it was a rough way to ring in the day but it's been a week since and so far he's on the up and up so the fact that his body is still attempting to heal when injured is very good news and, I'd say, a pretty decent birthday present.

Here are some pretty pictures we took of an icy mountain creek before the accident.

I hate being cold. But snow is pretty and being in a place where water takes all its forms is fun. (If I'd had a cup of boiling hot something or other then the experience would really have been complete.)

Two days later we set out for a bday weekend in the good ol' SLC.  I wouldn't say it's an urban mecca but it does have some delicious eateries and some excellent antique shops which is right up Sean's alley. Also saw some indie films which has been at the top of my new year's resolutions.

We recognized, for the 80,000th time, how eating good food makes us feel human again and how truly important that is. Here we are eating at an Italian place where our half-booth faced a big window and a blanket was waiting for us. Sooo great. Watching the snow which has sadly finally come, wasn't so bad this way.


Here we are in this GIANT antique warehouse where the heaps of old stuff reached heavenward. Both of us stood, gazing, and declared we had somehow stumbled into the room of requirement. I guess we know what Sean was desperately in need of. Watching HP 7 part II later on confirmed we were dead right. It looked EXACTLY like it. Also, steady hand, Jen. All of these are blurry.


On the weekend we invited some fam over to celebrate and can I just say, through all the challenges of trying to harness Julian's weird mind and intensities, I have finally found a way to do so positively where he utterly shines? PARTY-THROWING.  This kid is a wizard! I have long known he excels at birthday celebrations but this year took the birthday cake. I was so impressed and so proud. He took it upon himself to plan and arrange all the games and I was DYING.

1. Pin the 4 on the 40.  Hilarious and adorable.

2. Shoot the Julian. I have no pics of this but essentially he put on a helmet and had people take turns shooting at him with nerf guns.  I do have a pic of the instructional sign he made though:

kills me

3. Doodad Walk.  Like a cakewalk but instead of winning cake, you get to choose from a collection of doodads, or junk from his room. Soooo funny.  He made a million tiny scraps with numbers and spaced them approx. 6 inches apart, the normal walking pace of the average adult.

seriously, the junkiest of his junk. I think one thing was an old earring he found in a parking lot.

4. He also made a treasure hunt for Sean to find all his presents all over the house but there were quite a few and would take a long time so we divvied up the spaces and sent all the guests to go find Sean's presents.  This sign is a gem.

Sean made a giant souffle and I made a lemon olive oil cake because two birthday desserts are better than one. We sang to him and he and I rounded off the day with just the pair of us watching his sand art while a naughty Julian lay listening in the hall and had to get up and tell us himself he was out of his room because we never noticed and he had been there FOREVER.                         

  Happiest birthday to the best Sean/Shawn/Shon/Shaun I know. Thanks for being as funny, smart, and good as ever, and for still lookin' fly. {ok sign}


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Cat's Got That Look Again

Every once in a while I'll be sitting, minding my own business, and then look up to catch the cat staring at me with such a frightening intensity and stillness, it's safe to assume it's only a matter of time before I'm dead in my sleep, as I have accidentally caught him mid-planning-my-murder, which leaves me highly unsettled. 


it's blurry, but the murder feelings are there.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Post-Love Day Love Post

Every Valentine's, I like to have sort of a theme. I learn a new way to make a valentine and just stick to that for the most part. Starting about three weeks prior, I get out ALL my v-day crap (and so, so much crap there is) and spread it all over the table. I am tempted to clean it up several times but there is a phenomenon that occurs that prevents me and that phenomenon is called Julian Might Get Crafty. Like David Attenborough watching animals in the most remote corners of the wild, I must wait, patiently, sometimes for days and days on end through rain and snow to see if this miracle of nature might occur.  I can't linger or hang about. I hide behind my pretense of not watching (but I am, like a hawk incognito) and sometimes, if I'm lucky, the beast emerges. He gives a sniff, sauntering about here and there.  And then, as I cling to the edge, my breath frozen in my lungs, IT HAPPENS! He sits down, takes up a card. Cuts a heart. He might un-rubberband a marker or two. There goes the glue!  It's all so ridiculously exciting and i feel like my whole life has been leading up to this. It's a marvel to witness, a solemn event.  Absolutely thrilling.

This year I went with sewing hearts with string and also puppy crafts.  I took zero pictures of these but here's a picture I got off the internets and we made a few of these puppies (ha).

Also I went a little extra and used foldover heart cards for the heart the puppy is holding(!) This won Julian over immediately and inspired him to even made a puppy of his own.

The sewn hearts were fun and just the kind of sewing I am capable of doing.  On paper? Not something to be worn? Yes. Here's an example:

 I also used the thinnest, most delicate gold thread which made for some pretty freakin' fancy spun hearts. {smug face} 

Here are some valentines Julian spontaneously made for us one day.  They are the cutest.

This one is for me:

That silver hair kills me. It's spot on. Also this is how Julian's drawn people
since the beginning. No change. I don't think he'll ever see a reason to
update his drawings skills. And why would he. Also: the grass. {heart}
 And the inside:


"You and i are best as pie"??? Are you kidding me? He wrote me a poem! {sob}

Then he asked Sean what his favorite animal was and Sean said, "today, it's a raccoon." 
"you deserve this."
I get really excited for Julian to do valentines for his classmates. Was that not the greatest day in elementary school? He hasn't yet been required to make his own box but I'm thinking up all sorts of ideas.  I love the homemade valentines as well but prefer to let him choose his own way of doing it. If he wanted to make them, that's cool, but he likes to choose his own at the store and then do the systematic work like filling out the cards, sticking hearts and subliminal messages onto the ones he chooses, taping on the candy. They are ready weeks in advance. He had to specially request the class list from his teacher, ha ha.
I think my favorite way to celebrate the day is to have a romantic family dinner. I love to exchange valentines, have some flowers (some beauties Sean picked up and again, no pictures). Sean and I order an assortment of chocolates from the fanciest chocolatier we know and we deliver valentines to our neighbors. I think next year I might put a valentines box out on the porch and just let everyone know it's there, just FYI.  Also Sean made us chocolate souffles which were AMAZING. To put it eloquently: Holy. crap. 

I dream about these. So light and fluffy!  I put this up on instagram and tagged Paul Hollywood to check out that rise and noted that there were zero white specks. They were so, so good. Sigh. I weep a little. 

Also, my valentines for Sean and Julian. First, Julian's:

Included in my gift for him was scrolling through page after page of google images of
Lotor's ship after he told me all about it in great, great detail.

For Sean, this one I worked on for a while. I was at the store one day and browsing action figures, apparently (? I have no idea why i was there, but i was) and I saw one of General Leia which, for some reason, made me laugh. It's not that I think it's funny to imagine playing with her, or that I imagine an old person playing with an old person action figure, or maybe it is.  Maybe it is that i do. Maybe this is ageist of me. Well, I stood in front of it for several seconds, pondering and concocting. I even walked away and then doubled back for it maybe twice. But something told me not to pass this up. It was too good. With the help of a friend who knows her way around a craft store, I gathered supplies and made this 3-dimensional valentine for Sean:

Hahahahaha!  Sooo funny to me.  My friend, who hadn't seen the movie so it was extra weird to explain the project to her, asked me what he'd think and I said, "honestly, I don't know. He'll love it. But will he laugh? Maybe. I really can't say."  Sean loves Star Wars. Like, spends many minutes watching youtube videos about it. But he had a lot of problems with the latest movie and hated this scene.  If you haven't seen it, spoiler alert, maybe? (I'm not sure. Could be more like a warning.)

Sean did like it and laughed a little. Mostly I think he was in a little bit of shock. Like, what the fudge is this thing? It wasn't until a day or two later that he was able to gather his thoughts, and gave me the greatest compliment of my life:

(yes, i wrote it down)

Oh- I think we had been discussing showing gratitude more instead of being spoiled snotfaces (naming no names) and were making a goal to do this. Sean was sitting there, extra quiet and contemplative, and said,

"I am thankful for that flying Leia. It brings my whole life into focus.  Only one person would give a gift like that.  You. It bizarre. So bizarre and thoughtful, and that is you.  It will get a place of honor for sure."

{tear face, happy emoji} So great.

p.s. Sean got cards for me and Julian with very sweet, heartfelt messages written on them but some things are just too sacred, even for )en's Log.
And that wraps up our V-day. So great.  As a bonus and long'ish post script, a few random pictures from my phone.  First, our kitty cat trying to contort himself into a heart. Seriously though, what are you doing, Kitty? How is this comfortable. I am disturbed.

Second, some boots i ordered on some sketchy chinese website.  How much in love am I??? Bright red, fur-lined. No words anywhere. I love these boots so much, I had retroactive concern for their travels all the way from China.  "Oh! I'm so glad you're safe."
Unfortunately, there has been nary an ounce of snow this winter.
Hahaha i'm sorry, what am i saying. "unfortunately." *shaking my head*

Sunrises here can be outrageously spectacular but I can never get a good pic because all the dumb houses get in the way. Still, on this morning Julian and I were dying on the way to school. I did my best to capture and I could have sworn I heard horns and hooves as I looked to the east at first light on the fifth day. (does anyone get this reference? anyone?) 

Also, a cute picture of Julian being cute in the greatest sweater I've ever seen that i force him to wear because I become almost enraged with jealousy. Instead of "if i can't have it, nobody can," it's, "If i can't have it, YOU MUST HAVE IT. YOU WILL HAVE IT."  

 Lastly, a picture of me, that I took just now.


Happy Valentine's, everybody!
Signed, )en

 What if I signed all of my blog posts? Kind of like when my mom first started texting:  "Love, Mom."  {heart}

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Recently I attended a meeting where the featured speaker told the all-female crowd that being powerful doesn't mean being loud, doesn't mean throwing a fit.  You can be quiet and be powerful.  Zoom in to Jen sitting back on row 7, seat 27, shaking her head from side to side.   While I agree with these statements, I don't believe being loud equates "throwing a fit," a phrase that I found a little insulting. And I believe that being loud is ok.  And when there's been centuries of silence and silencing, maybe being a little loud is a little called for.

And again, while I do agree, I also think this kind of talk translates to "so remain quiet, do things quietly and gracefully, as a woman should" to most women which, well, I don't feel I am "most women."  It tells women, when the moment comes up, to not speak up. Or at least gives not much encouragement to do so.

A few weeks ago we were at Target browsing around and found ourselves in the books section. Sean found one he was excited about, called Women Who Rocked Space, and it features women in all kinds of professions--astronauts, engineers, astronomers, etc.  He's encouraged Julian several times to check it out and has sat down with him himself to read it. {heart}

Just a minute ago, Julian was sitting here next to me reading the book and he made the following observation:

"Wait a minute, every person in here is a woman.  Maybe space is a woman's thing..."

To which to my heart swelled and I replied, "definitely."  But don't worry, I added on, "but there are men, too."  

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Art All Up In the Nighttime

It's Sunday this morning. I spent most of the night unable to shut off the ol' brain and trying to convince my body that it wasn't actually awake time-- it's not, brain! it's not! Now, SLEEP. DO IT.-- even though it gives me serious side eye and says, if you say so...   Body and mind finally relented around 4:00 which-- and I knew this would happen-- translated to a "nap" to my brain and I was up again at 7:30. Cuss.   I told Sean I woke up playing an arrangement of a song from Jurassic Park. Like, I took a theme and was playing some kind of stupid harmonic line or accompaniment if someone were ever to want to sing a solo of it, and, wearily expressing my incredulity and exasperation, said to him, "that's... not what I want to be working on. That is not a project i want to pursue."  Like, why? Why, brain. 
(Also, I am reminded of this video clip I once saw) 

Sean then told me that sometimes he lies awake at night planning something, mostly designing or constructing a thing, and he has to put a stop to it in order to allow himself to fall asleep.   He has to somehow let his brain know this is NOT something it needs to remember, so he'll intentionally direct himself down a bad road. He says he sabotages the project by, for example, putting a Mickey on it.  Like, a Mickey Mouse.  And then he'll be like, well this is stupid, and he can walk away. This tickled me immensely, because, what a freak. And, what freakS.  It could be different with music, but I'm going to try to implement this tip. So the next time my brain is fruitlessly pursuing something at the cost of sleep I'll just start, I dunno, pounding up and down on the piano up or something.  Or maybe continue the arrangement but on, like, a recorder.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Itzhak and Me

DISCLAIMER: I read this lengthy, wordy, wandering blog post to Sean who suggested I maybe split it up into two parts or make some edits of some kind. I agreed that it does need some editing but I also know that I'm pretty lazy and unsure of how to go about it. So in the meantime I'm just going to publish it so at least it's out there. I'm never afraid to go back and edit blog posts from yesteryear. But staying put as a draft just doesn't seem right. 

So i recently shared a bit of my muffin making experience while listening to a podcast with Itzhak Perlman.  This is the kind of day that makes me real happy. First, i make good muffins that turn out really well. Second, brain food brain food brain food. The podcast, I mean. And probably the muffins. They are magic.  But it zeroes in on and revives the very soul of me and makes me feel so good. It's emotional, it's invigorating, I feel alive and creative even if I'm not actually creating (even though I totally am--the muffins).  It's wonderful. Click here to read back.

I wanted to expand on this listening experience that I felt like overlapped and cross-referenced several other experiences I'd been having lately and I hope I can remember them all and connect them in a way that makes a tiny amount of readable sense for you.

But let's go back a bit. I recently returned from a trip to New York that I'm still riding on a high from and it's been about 4 weeks since I've been home to the moment I'm writing this and I'm still reeling a little bit.  I'm debating whether I could attempt to blog about it or if it's even meant for the blog. I've already journaled about it and included journaling snippets I took while there. For now, let's summarize it by saying it was an emotional reckoning and reconciliation, a joyous reunion, rejuvenating and redeeming. It was just what I needed. It was perfect.

On the plane home I watched a documentary on film scores and I loved the whole thing. They interviewed various composers, some I know well and some not at all.  They took turns describing what the process looks like for them, what it takes, what goes into it, why they do what they do and how they feel about it.  I loved so much about it but one composer-- i can't even remember who--said something like, "this may sound arrogant but I have to write music that gives me the chills. If I don't feel the chills, then how can I expect others to?"  I considered this and it resonated. I've been writing music lately, just a little here and there, and it feels really good. It helps me to remember who I am, which definitely always feels good. But I am always pondering what about a song do I like? What makes it good, in my opinion? And I've always held to the idea that you have to love it yourself if you want others to.

Fast forward to a few days later when we received our December Reader's Digest in the mail with one of the article headlines reading, "Why Men Don't Cry."  And add this to reason #3 I feel like I'm succeeding as a parent when Julian read it and exclaimed, "What?? This makes no sense! Of COURSE men cry!" Which is exactly right, and it would be preposterous to think otherwise, Reader's Digest. (Those italics mean I'm chiding, not merely identifying a publication, just to be clear)  Julian is an emotional creature and I herald this. I try to help him bridle it but we definitely allow the emotions their due, their place. Crying is a complicated procedure. When is it beneficial. When must you call it good. How would you ever try to make another person cry at something beautiful?

Itzhak said he receives lots of questions on how to make someone cry. How do you evoke emotion. He said, "you cannot make someone or teach someone how to make someone cry; it's something you were born with." He mentioned there were many variables at play.  Is the audience open to being moved? Are they "listening"?  Are they going through something in their life that might make them particularly vulnerable? (I'm mega-paraphrasing here)  Do they recognize elements at hand that they can translate into emotion for themselves?

Which makes sense. I mean, if there were a formula that would sound utterly bizarre and just mechanical and wrong. It's never my goal to musically make someone cry, the thought is absurd.  But now that he mentioned it, and watching that documentary, I was desperately interested in what actually is required to make someone feel a thing, to tears even.  One of the composers from the film sat at a mixing/sound table (?? console) in a studio and fiddled with the volume of a recording. He showed us the melodic line and then to draw our attention to it, brought in a deeper, underlying harmony that made the music richer and balanced. The melodies are nothing without the harmonies, something I strongly believe in.

"To be a musician," Itzhak began, "it's not normal. It's abnormal. Anything that you do as a child that's special, which requires practicing, what's natural about that?"

I loved this. I thought about me, I thought about Julian and taking lessons and experiencing witnessing his brain learn an entirely new and complicated language.  I've never felt normal, not necessarily because I'm a "musician," but just because. And I've always loved it., embraced it. So listening to Itzhak felt like a i was listening to a brother. A smart and quirky brother who knows a thing or two about what he's saying, and whose language felt very familiar to me.

He said that if you want to explain it scientifically, what it is about music that makes a person cry, he said he supposed, "it's probably a thing about the harmonies. The harmonies affect you in a certain way. It's a harmonic reaction."  And then he gave the example of Puccini, and the opera La Boheme, which Sean and I saw once upon a time and loved. And I may have actually yelled, "YES! THE HARMONIES."  I felt like I was hearing all of my privately and long-held theories and it was so validating and helped me feel a little less isolated. Fortunately I have a best friend artist at my fingertips where art chats happen on the reg, but with music specifically, i felt a little vindicated, if to no one but myself. See? Itzhak agrees!  I'd love for such a thing to be scientifically explained and if harmonies is it, I'll buy that. Our brains crave the blend, the cooperation, the teaming up, the balancing out, the weaving in and out of supporting or dominating or even conflicting lines of music, the dissonant resolve into harmony.

On this NY trip I fluctuated back and forth from feeling like a tourist and a resident. It was a surreal experience. It had been two years since i'd been and i had begun to forget it, much to my fear and sadness. This place i am now is so extremely different in almost every single way and the old life just felt so far away. I was beginning to think it wasn't real, that it had all been a dream.

And then when I arrived, a flood of emotions, and stirred-up memories from multiple phases of living there were overwhelming to all my senses.  I spent the first day being a little nervous, too, at being in the "big city" which was so beyond ridiculous. I scolded myself, "get your city legs on, Jen!" and I felt myself feeling like a tourist, but had this past life I was struggling to remember.  It's like, there's the New York people see on TV or in movies and then the one I experienced, and I know how it feels to view both.  Plus I stayed in a hotel in midtown which was extremely touristy of me. But I knew my way around a bit, had frequented many locations nearby, and just found myself knowing things I couldn't possibly know as a tourist.  Like how to walk (fast, and intentional). How to move and position my body in this context, within hundreds of constant other bodies around me.  How to weave around people, how to cross the street. There are subtleties there that you learn only from lots of practice.

When I finally decided to take the train (because I had some trepidation--???? WHY? as only a tourist would!) I went down with my suitcase, bought my metro card, swiped and then walked further down the platform to wait, because I knew that's what you do.  And I got on the train, found a seat, and straddled my suitcase as out of the way as I could because somehow I knew that's what you do. I texted Sean all of my feelings throughout the whole trip and on the train (because you can get a signal on the train now[!!]) I told him I felt like I was experiencing the strangest sensation of muscle memory. It was all muscle memory. Like my body knew what to do, I just didn't know how I knew! I could do all of these things but how?? And he sagely replied, "Like Jason Bourne. You're Jason Bourne!" and I replied, "I AM  Jason Bourne!"   It was so strange, and funny. But straaaange.

On the subway I had the most idyllic subway-riding experience I could have ever conceived of having. The whole trip had me swimming in this heightened sense of nostalgia and it was so potent. Eeeevery little thing struck a little chord with me but I recognize that that is just the New York magic, casting its little spell. I knew the feeling while living there of course, but wow, the feeling was intense this time around.  At one point, on the train, a man near me was struggling to clean his phone. I dug into my backpack and found an alcohol lens wipe and told him i thought they were pretty handy for such tasks. He graciously accepted and then that of course broke the stranger barrier and though I was happy to resume silent solo passenger'ing, I could tell he felt like he should chat with me now and then.

At one of the stops a woman got on, sat by me, and voiced her frustration with the local train across the track that never came. She hoped the express train we were on (which ordinarily skips stops) would take over and make local stops which would benefit her greatly.  A few stops in, sure enough, an announcement was made that this express train was now making local stops and she cheered and exclaimed, "I called it, didn't i!" And I agreed she did, and she concluded her celebration by saying God works in mysterious ways. I told her it was her lucky day because usually He works the other way, which I later realized sounded much more pessimistic than I intended, but really, the train rarely works in your favor. I mean she'd already been waiting for who knows how long for a ghost train never to appear. But I was really, really happy for her.

A little while later, a musician got on, a man with a guitar, and played the most beautiful rendition of something or other. I can't even remember what it was but it was lovely, so much so that my phone-cleaning friend and I exchanged a look like, whoa, this guy! And as I continued on the ride, we passed one of my old stops near my house and ALL OF THE FEELINGS punched me in the face and heart (as New York feelings do) and the whole experienced reached a pinnacle of dangerous portions and I let myself weep a little. Just let the ol' eyes well up. My friend looked at me (we were sitting perpendicular) and I wondered what he must have been thinking. Probably not much, as public crying isn't so weird there, and I let it happen because I couldn't not. Also, having broken that initial ice, there was a shared experience there that went largely unspoken, merely by being so close to humanity. We exited and he thanked me for the wipe and I said he was welcome and he walked on and that was the only time I let myself actually cry on this trip, because the brink and threat of an enormous emotional eruption remained the ENTIRE TIME I WAS THERE, and that just wouldn't have done.  (not sure if I can use that in the past tense-- "just won't do")

Itzhak said that his job was not to make anyone feel anything, but to effectively communicate to the audience what he was trying to say.  There's memorization and recitation, but what exactly are you trying to communicate? It had to be new and intentional for him every time, no matter how many times he'd played a piece. Otherwise it would fall flat, and would not translate.  And I jotted down on my notepad there, "maybe being a great musician means being a great communicator?"

Whatever it is, I benefit so much from it. From the collaboration of great musicians, and the music all around me.  In New York, I felt, a lot, and I marveled that it did not subside once, not while I was there, not even after I landed back in UT. From my conversations with strangers, to culturally edifying experiences. Reconnections with old friends, (human and non-human). The rediscovery of all these existing but forgotten layers to my current and past self. Elements I brought back with me to my life now, with the people I'm with, the experiences I'm having or trying to have now, the music I'm trying to create now.  I marvel, but with so many magnificent harmonies playing off each other, scientifically, it really shouldn't come as a surprise.