For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You're Never Too Old to Play

When we were visiting Annie on parent's weekend,  it wasn't ALL about music.  We went to a fabulous farmer's market, went out to dinner with Annie's friends and we spent a few hours in a museum.

NOT a science museum.

NOT an art museum.

It was a lot more fun than either of those.

Rochester is home to the National Museum of Play.

I was wishing I had young children once again as we walked through this wonderful place.  But after a while, I realized that anyone of any age can enjoy this museum.  It was just plain fun!

The huge aquarium at the entrance was full of interesting fish!

Annie really liked this one with the protruding teeth.

Everywhere you looked, there was a quote on the wall about the
importance of play.

One of the first things we came upon was a replica of the Sesame Street set.

Vance and Annie played a few tunes on these musical pipes.

Then Annie and I climbed a skyscraper!

Vance was occupied watching the tarantula...

while Annie and I made ourselves into superheroes!

Nobody is too old to play pretend!

Then there was a section of the museum devoted to "classic" toys of the past.

 Before leaving, we stopped at the Skyliner Diner which is actually inside the museum...

and we each got a scrumptious soft-serve cone.

Annie got a photo of all use using the mirror on the ceiling of the diner!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Out of My Element

It was "parents weekend"  in Rochester at the Eastman School of Music.  It was great to see Annie, get to know some of her friends,  and experience Eastman in a way that we never have before.

I couldn't help but feel slightly out of my element, though.
Let me restate that.
I felt VERY much out of my element!

Being a music school, the activities of the weekend were just that.
On Friday night, Annie and her friends were extremely excited to attend a concert by the Eastman Philharmonia performing Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2.  I had never heard of Gustav Mahler, but we went along.

Being my first symphony EVER, and knowing I would be attending many more such performances in years to come, I went with the mindset that I could learn to appreciate classical music.  As I sat between Annie and Vance, I began by listening closely to the sounds.  My foot was moving in time to the music.  A short time later, Annie asked me to put my foot down because it was distracting her.  My mind began to wander.  After a few minutes, it all began to sound the same.  

On Saturday night, we attended a performance by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra of concertos by Johannes Brahms and Bela Bartok.  I have no idea what a "concerto" actually is, but the first was a piano concerto which lasted 45 minutes.  Again, I tried to concentrate but found my mind wandering.  The man behind us began to snore.  If I truly had an appreciation for the music, I probably would have been annoyed. I did, however, find it amusing!  The guest pianist was a tall, lanky man dressed in tails.  I focused on him and was amazed at his talent.  He seemed to be very emotionally involved in the music.  When he finished a section of music,  he flung his hands and body backwards and looked like he was going to fall off the bench.  I laughed to myself, but upon looking around found that nobody else was amused!  He continued to be extremely expressive with his body as he played.  I watched people around me sitting still as statues.  At one point my water bottle slipped and fell to the floor.  Annie seemed annoyed.  I felt like I had to sneeze and really didn't want to make another sound, so I held my finger tight under my nose for quite some time to stifle the sneeze.  A lady not far from us unwrapped a candy or cough drop and I saw heads turn toward her in disapproval.

On both nights, I thought the music was performed well - it sounded good to me, anyways.  But if you had put me in a room afterward and played excerpts of any of the songs movements concertos symphonies  - whatever they are - I am positive I would not be able to recognize a single one of them again.

I was most excited for the performance on Monday night of the Eastman Wind Orchestra (the freshman/sophomore wind ensemble) because Annie was playing in two of the songs. I took my camera and a few lenses with me and sat in the front row of the balcony.

 There she was, performing in this magnificent theater!

 Well, there she is...

 OK, THERE she is!

The music sounded as good to me as the Rochester Philharmonic.
But then again, who am I to judge!

 Afterward, I didn't feel as "out of my element" anymore.
They wanted pictures!
Above is a picture of Annie with the other 3 members of her saxophone quartet.

 And here she is with more saxophone students.

 And with me.

I took this picture of Annie outside the Kodak Theater after the concert.  We were headed back to the hotel where we would order room service, get in our pj's and watch a few old episodes of Gilmore Girls before going to bed.

Before we went to sleep I entertained her with my impressions of the music and asked her all of the stupid questions that were going through my mind during the concert.
I knew she would go to class the next day and probably have a good laugh with her friends over my questions and comments.

I didn't care, though.

I was so proud of her and so happy to have spent such a wonderful weekend.

Parents Weekend.

You don't have to know a lot about music.
You just have to be a parent.
And THAT is where I am definitely in my element!

Friday, October 11, 2013

I've Got Your Back

 While I love to take pictures of people's faces the best, sometimes my favorite photographs don't include faces at all.

Images taken from behind have a very different quality and can be quite powerful.  We can see what they are seeing and because of this, we can maybe feel what they are feeling.

This is Annie watching her brother and sister play outside at Grandma's house in Vermont.

Kerry is running after the seagulls on Cocoa Beach in Florida.

Adam and Kerry watching a Disney movie together while I was wishing they would fall asleep and take a nap.

 Tigger, enjoying the warm sun on a cold, snowy winter day.

 Annie looking out the back of the bus on the first day of school.

 And then in later years walking down the street to the bus stop.

 Annie is tired after playing in the sand on the beach at Lake George.

 Adam takes pictures of Lake Champlain with Kerry at his side.

 This is me and my dog, Jack, enjoying one of the outstanding Lake Champlain sunsets.

 Kerry watches a rodeo in Alaska with her cousin, Emily.

 Adam and Matthew looking at Lake George and the Adirondacks after hiking to Pilot's Knob.

Kerry walks on the roadside in Stowe with her cousins from Alaska, Emily and Mikey

Annie receives a warm hug from Zachary at the town green before prom.

Adam watches the sunset over Rome with his dad.

Annie, Kerry and Mikey frolic in the cold Pacific at Stinson Beach near San Francisco.

Annie walks into the sparkling waters of Lake George.

Kerry heads off to go trick-or-treating dressed as an old lady. 

Adam and Kerry holding hands as they walk through the leaves in Stowe, Vermont.

This a view that most parents love (blurred for privacy)!

 If there is any one secret of success, 
it lies in the ability
 to get the other person's point of view
 and see things 
from that person's angle
 as well as from your own. 
~ Henry Ford