A Punch in the Face

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  -Mike Tyson

If someone had told me that I would be quoting Mike Tyson on this blog, I’d have punched THEM in the face.  But, alas, it’s true.  My best laid plans for a totally Career-Centered Month were thrown for a serious loop when I managed to spill water onto my laptop.  Long story short, KAPUT.  nothing.  Did I run regular backups?  Of course!  Just not in the last 8 months or so, and that hard drive is in my condo in Boston, which I can’t get into until November.

Thank god for dropbox, but that giant spreadsheet that I have been working on for the past year with all of my contacts and venues and programs and A WHOLE YEAR OF RESEARCH?  GONE…  Gone….  gone…. Continue reading

Happy October!

Happy October! Month of fall foliage, Halloween costumes, apple picking and pumpkin spice lattes.  I will have none of those things in Bermuda; here, October means hurricanes, getting the garden planted (and then losing it all to the afore-mentioned hurricanes) and finding lightweight clothing in fall colors.  Bermudians love their Fall Fashion, even though it’s 85 degrees and sunny!  Bless them.  But don’t worry, I’ll be spending a lovely 9 days in Chicago playing concerts and working with various student groups.  I’m so excited for all of that, but I’m also excited to take a few walks around Lake Michigan, oohi-ng and ahh-ing over the changing leaves, and I will probably bribe my nephews to hit-up starbucks with me once or twice a day for a PSL fix.

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After an awesomely productive and enlightening September, I’m excited to move onto my next 30-Day Project.  September was “Health” and if you are curious, you can read about it here and here.  October is going to be…….drumroll, please….. “Career”.  Specifically, my performance career.  (Spoiler alert: the “Teaching” and “Youth Orchestra” aspects of my career will each have their own month).  I’m looking forward to booking some more concerts for this year and next (and the next—I’m already booking concerts for the 2019-2020 season!) cleaning up and updating my website, maybe getting some new headshots done, and learning how to write and send a good press-release, amongother things. I’m looking forward to ending the month with new kinds of content and a lot more of it to choose from.  Obviously I’ll be practicing a ton gearing up for my week of concerts in Chicago, and I’m curious to see how playing so many recitals in 1 week will feel.  I’m starting things off with my brand new business cards that the mother of one of my students designed.  Didn’t she do an incredible job?

business cards

designed by @mercedesigns

business cards

designed by @mercedesigns

Again, the name of the game here is to make a little bit of progress in this area each day.  Make necessary investments and read whatever I can find on the subject.  If you have any ideas, please send them along in the comments.  And in the meantime, Enjoy a caramel apple and a cider doughnut for me, please.

 

My Healthy September Post-Mortem

Boy ,this month got busy!  I started out letting you know about my Month-long Focus Project on my Health and had every intention of posting a couple of times each week about various things.  Somehow, it is September 28th and I have posted not one lousy update.  So, here we are,  4 weeks into the month, and 2 days away from a glass of wine!  Here’s how it all went.

“Sober September”.  Paul and I managed to go an entire month without drinking alcohol.  To be fair, we each had 2 cheat days.  For him, it was after the last fitted dinghy race of the season.  Tradition holds that the trophy gets filled with rum and everyone passes it around and drinks from it (I know, gross, but they LIVE for this shit) and I sort of felt like it was an important moment for him since it was also (possibly?) marking his early retirement from fitted dinghy racing.  My cheat day was when I was out having dinner with some dear friends.   Our 2nd one was after I returned home from a couple of intense weeks in Boston, and we went out for a romantic dinner.  We each had a glass.  All told, we both had the equivalent of 1 day’s worth of wine over an entire month.  Not too shabby.  Lessons learned?  Well, it was a very boring month, to be sure. We didn’t go out as often and spent most of our evenings at home working.  A couple of times it felt silly not to be enjoying a nice glass of wine (when we were out for tapas, after a long tough day at work, etc).  But I think we both realized that most of the time we are sipping away, it’s mostly out of habit.  I was just as happy drinking a glass of Pellegrino while cooking dinner.  It didn’t have to be wine.  And Paul was just as happy with a cold glass of ginger beer as he would have been with a dark and stormy.  What we needed was the ritual of stopping our work days, pouring a glass of SOMETHING and hitting pause.   I don’t think that drinking wine is going to be a part of our daily routine anymore, and I also think I will appreciate having a nice glass of wine with a nice meal, or to celebrate a happy occasion–once in a while. Also?  I lost 7 lbs, so there’s that.

Eating healthy:  This one I wasn’t so strict about, though I did do a massive food shop and meal-prep when I got to Boston for two weeks of teaching and rehearsals.  I cooked up tons of vegetables, some salmon, chicken breasts, wild rice, and salad fixings and was happy as a clam for those two weeks.  I had options (chicken or fish? Broccoli or asparagus) but my choices were limited enough that I never had decision fatigue about my meals.  I would make a jar of chia pudding or overnight oats for breakfast and mix them up with some fresh berries and a little coconut yogurt.  Lunch would be a salad from my pre-cut veggies, and dinner would be equally easy.  I felt great, slept great, was hungry at mealtime, but not starving for snacks.  I brought mini packs of almonds and dried cranberries to rehearsals and that was basically it.  Unfortunately, when I got back to Bermuda, that plan went down the tubes.  Paul and I just like very different kinds of food. He likes to throw things together into a kind of stew/chili/casserole type of situation (served over starch) and I prefer my food to be cooked separately (but unlike a three year-old, it’s okay if they are touching on my plate).  I can’t deny how much worse I feel for how I’ve eaten the past two weeks vs. how great I felt the first two weeks, so I might need to put my foot down and make it happen (sorry, babe!)  We watched the documentary “What the Health” which everyone and their brother seems to be talking about.  Honestly, It made me question both the validity of their accusations (it all seemed a bit too much) and how much animal product I’m willing to have in my diet.  Since I have trouble being any kind of an extremist (I couldn’t even go 30 days without a glass of wine!) I hesitate to say I’m never going to eat meat or cheese again.  I have been using Almond milk and I switched to coconut yogurt, and I’m trying to be more mindful of meat and dairy choices.  Voilá.

Exercise: I did manage to get back into a running routine.  I maybe didn’t run as often as I wanted, but I managed a consistent 3-4 times a week.  I learned two things.  1) it’s a lot easier to run when your body is lighter.  Seriously, I always wondered how women who had never run before could throw on a pair of sneakers, and go out and run a 10K that first weekend, when, after months of running, I wouldn’t have even made it through a 10K without huffing and puffing.  Now I get it. They are tiny to begin with, and aren’t lugging as much weight around.  Even just dropping 7 lbs, I can run faster and farther and it feels easier.  So, here’s to the next 7 lbs, and the next.  2) having great music really helps.  I downloaded Kayla Itsines’s SWEAT playlist from itunes and it is amazing.  Love it.  I want more.  Need more.  Please send playlist suggestions ASAP!

Small habits and check-ups:  I took care of the two big one (or two)-offs: My annual “wellness exam” and mammogram with my Dr. and seeing my dentist for a cleaning and updated x-rays, and I tried to tweak little daily habits: flossing more regularly, drinking a tall glass of hot water with lemon before I have my coffee (and drinking more water in general) and doing more sit ups and squats and things like that around the house at random times.

So overall, I think my first Focus month was a pretty big success.  Aside from the weight loss, I definitely have more energy, my skin looks better, and I just feel like I am living a healthier life.  I feel good about setting up good habits that I can continue through the rest of the year, am in a good groove with my running routine and am excited to continue to tweak my (our) eating habits.

New post next week to announce my October Focus Project! I’m excited.

My 30-Day Focus Project

Ahhh….September.  It’s right up there with New Year’s Day and, of course, every single Monday of the year in terms of reeking of Fresh Start-Ness.  I’m coming to the end of my Transition Week  and it was full of scheduling (lessons), reflection (on the last season), and planning (for this season).  I had my trusty Ink & Volt planner by my side, and as I was thinking through my 30-Day Challenges (an awesome feature of this planner—I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone working on any kind of project or in any period of growth—so basically everyone)  I kept thinking about Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project  .  It occurred to me that the two concepts could be joined together in a pretty amazing way for me this year.  Continue reading

AC Fever

This past weekend I went to Boston to host the chamber music concerts over at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras.  I flew in on Thursday evening, a few days in advance of Sunday’s Marathon concert day, but by Friday night, I was sick as a dog!  Knocked down with a fever and couldn’t even keep a couple of aspirin down.  I spent most of Saturday in bed, and spent Sunday coasting on adrenaline and ginger ale.  With the help of my amazing colleagues and cheered up by some seriously fine playing by all of my students, I made it through the (12-hour!) day.

But that’s not really the fever I wanted to talk about.  When I returned to Bermuda yesterday the marinas were already filling up with gorgeous, sleek J-Class boats, majestic Tall ships and sexy Superyachts.   The count down to the 2017 America’s Cup is now in the single digits and the energy around town is infectious.  Continue reading

What I do All Day

There are two questions I am often asked by my non-musician friends and family:

The first, is a general, “So….what, exactly, do you do all day?”.  When I tell them I practice, they look at me kind of funny.

But then when they see me perform, they inevitably ask the 2nd question: “How do you know where all of the notes are going to be?”.   I’d love to simply refer them to the answer to my first question, but that would seem rude.  I’m not offended, I swear.  I get it, what I do is really strange.  I spend hours alone in a room with the door shut “practicing”–whatever that means, and then I perform.  Actors have their fellow cast members.  They go to rehearsal, they interact.  There is a clear process of learning and memorizing lines and stage direction that the common person understands.  Athletes?  They work either with the rest of their team, or if it is a solo sport, they at least work with a coach.  They do drills, they discuss their technique, how to improve. They can measure their progress through speed and distance.  But a musician?  Hmm. Weird.  So, here it is: A day in the life of a musician.  Or at least the practice room part of it.  Continue reading

The Flight to Bermuda

When people ask me where I live, I’m not quite sure what to tell them.  You see, after 5 years (one married) of doing the Boston-Bermuda long-distance tango with my boyfriend/husband, Paul, I decided to give up one of my jobs (the teaching position at an amazing school that required me to be in town M-F every week), and move to Bermuda.  Except that I didn’t, really.  Not exactly.  Continue reading