Tag Archives: work

some good things

Politics and bad drivers seem to be often in my mind for possible blog posts but there is much that is good in my life.

What are some good things that have been in my life recently? I need to get my laundry done today and someone has been using the laundry room for the last 2+ hours. Well, writing another blog post is a good thing!

Seeing Sarah at the Symphony, playing in that great orchestra, is a good thing. She’s playing every, or nearly every, set through this month through the East Coast tour a month from now. After that, no one is saying.

I went to the dentist today for a teeth cleaning. I hadn’t been in 3 or 4 years so I guess that’s a good thing. She wants to do a deep cleaning, of course. I expected that, but she and the hygienist were very nice so I decided I would go ahead. The hygienist recommended a Water Pik instead of an electric toothbrush so I bought one afterward. Now I just have to use it!

The jazz band is playing two charts that have guitar solos and a couple others that have exposed parts so the results of my practicing – or not practicing – is evident every week. That’s good. I’m practicing more. I’ve gotten compliments on my playing from band members. That’s good.

Work has been good. Work is work so what I’m really saying is that I haven’t had too much of it. SoundBox is next week and indications are that last months’ chaos will not be repeated.That’s good. I am continually thankful that my colleagues are all people that I enjoy being around.

I did a really thorough house cleaning before Tom came over last week. That’s good. I’ve been keeping up with the dishes lately so there aren’t piles in the sink all the time.

After living through several droughts in California, I learned to appreciate the rain. We’ve had both rain and sunshine in the last couple of weeks. That’s all good. The deep green hills look great in the sunshine.

I bought plane tickets for the work weekend in South Carolina last week. Not only will I get to see Jeremy’s family but also Micah and Julie will be there from Baton Rouge. I had already bought a ticket to meet Jeremy in Georgia to help move his family out west. There’s one more ticket I bought that I can’t talk about because it’s a surprise. I gave JJ all the dates so there won’t be any work conflicts. The other summer trip is the one to Germany with Mary Beth. We haven’t bought tickets yet but it will happen in August. These are all good things.

I went to a funeral Saturday. That wasn’t so good but I saw two people there from my high school days that I didn’t expect to see. That was awesome. John and Gary, I hope you read this!

Ally posted a video on Facebook of Noah from 2011 that I watched about 4 times. Then there was a current one of Noah and Myles together. Both precious for different reasons. I am really looking forward to seeing Noah at the work weekend. I already have a birthday present for him!

Rose continues to be my rock and my best friend. I often think about the unexpected paths our lives took to bring us together, then apart, then together again. Maybe someday I will find the strength to write the story of Rose and Chris. It’s not what you think and we don’t know the ending yet.

Every day I spend with Mom and Dad is precious. Last week I had two. On one, Dad asked me to cut down a dead pyracantha and I almost had a heart attack sawing it up with his little hand saw. After we got home from the funeral, I had at the stump with my sawzall. That took about 20 minutes instead of the 30 seconds I thought it would be. Dead wood is harder than live, don’t you know? He’s always happiest outdoors with growing things.

work vs play

The title of this post has been in my drafts folder since September. Hmmm. Well, obviously it’s a recurring theme. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Today was my second day off after a nine working days in 10 stretch. Yesterday I looked at my long list of things I wanted to do . . . and went back to bed.

I finally got myself out about 1 pm and ran a couple of errands. Then I even cooked a real dinner. That’s as opposed to heating frozen food or going out. All good but this morning I’m unmotivated again.I still have a lot on my list but I find it’s easy to rationalize staying in. I’ve been thinking lately how a couple of years ago I went out on hikes on this beautiful peninsula pretty regularly. Not so much now.

At years’ end I tallied the number of days worked and found that 2016 was almost exactly the same as 2015. In fact, the last 4 years are remarkably close. That would be fine except I’ve stated many times, to myself and others, that I want to reduce my work load. Days like today, though, highlight the question of what do I do with the extra time.

Jazz band starts next Monday so that will be something. It remains to be seen if I can practice more.

I think about writing a lot but actually doing it less so. I did pick up the Stephen King book On Writing yesterday at the library so perhaps there will be some inspiration there.

OK, up and at ’em. Time for more errands.

my week

I’m going to try to just describe my week.

Last Sunday morning I was still in Georgia. In the afternoon, we had Rosalie’s party. All of the Hall’s except for Lauren were there along with three of Rosalie’s chums from school. 2year old Parker Hall was another little one. The party started conventionally enough with people arriving and setting gifts on the hearth. Ashley and Rosalie had spent a lot of time preparing fairy houses which were set outside so soon we were all out in the back yard. The little plastic ball – perfect for kicking around the yard – and the swing set, however, proved to be more of a draw than fairy houses. It was cool and windy so sitting quietly outside was not optimal.

After a while we were back inside and Ashley brought out the strawberry and carrot cake cupcakes for everyone. Rosalie chose a strawberry one for her candles. The room became very quiet as the eating of the cupcakes proceeded.

Then it was out to the living room and the opening of presents. Rosalie went into full Christmas morning mode, ripping presents open and turning immediately to another one. I’m sure she’ll appreciate them eventually! Soon the balloons for all beckoned and before long the children were chasing each other in a circle through the dining room, the kitchen and the living room shrieking. This went on for at least 20 minutes (I wasn’t watching a clock). One balloon popped and another was lost (it later turned up behind the toilet in the bathroom) but no one was hurt or even had hurt feelings.

After everyone left, we cleaned up and went out to Ted’s for dinner.

Back at home, I explained to Rosalie at bedtime that I had to leave early in the morning to go home. We sang one more song with the guitar and she went to sleep. In the morning I went into her room and said goodbye again but she wasn’t really awake. Jeremy took me to the airport and we had some good talk on the way. His dream of moving back out west is very close. I told him I would be available to help him do the move if it happens.

Air travel. It’s like democracy: it’s terrible but the alternatives are worse. I’d love to be able to relax on a bus or a train across country but that would be time better spent with Rosalie so I fly.

At home Monday afternoon I tried to rest and then went to jazz band in the evening. Before leaving, I had told JJ that I was available for the Berlin Philharmonic Tuesday and Wednesday nights. He sent me an email confirming that along with the request that I come in for maintenance projects on both days. Oh well, I just had a week off and I have 5 days off following that. But those were long days: 9 am to 10:30 the first day and 9 am to midnight the second.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and the Woods were to gather in Santa Clara as is our tradition. It was also my birthday so Rose came over early with a birthday gift. We got down to Santa Clara a little before noon and set out food and started to eat. The day was fine and low key. Happy birthday was sung after dinner but otherwise there were no references to aging. I really pooped out about 8 and was back on my way home by 9.

Friday was laundry day and then a return to Santa Clara. Several people were there from out of town and were leaving Saturday so I made the effort to spend more time with them. Sarah had stayed there and wanted to go to The Starving Musician to look at violins. She asked me if I wanted to go with her.

Now, I had been to this music store many times. It’s a guitar shop in my mind. They have guitars, basses, amplifiers, keyboards, and drums in the main showroom pretty much like any other music store. I had noticed the little room for band instruments in the back before but Sarah told me she had been in there a couple of years earlier and seen some violins. She remembered one of them was pretty good and she wanted to see if it was still there. She needed an inexpensive instrument to teach with as her main fiddle had gotten damaged recently by a careless student.

It turned out there was a whole violin showroom – small, but nicely finished – upstairs in the back! Sarah spent a happy couple of hours going through the 50 or so instruments and chatting with the owner/luthier about arcane details of each one. We left with two on evaluation. She will take them back in a week or so. Depending on the opinions of various friends who know things, she may buy one.

That evening at dinner, Jane led the conversation by asking our Aunt Kathleen lots of questions about her journey into the sisterhood. I like to call her Kathleen but she really prefers Pieta. Technically she is Sister Pieta but she’s still our Aunt Kathleen. Pieta is 89 and my mother’s older sister. She’s been out in California since the 15th. We younger ones learned a lot about her life from 1945, when she graduated high school and went into an Army nursing program, until 1950 when she went into the nunnery. There was much more, of course, all very interesting. Pieta’s choice of name is very apt: she is deeply religious and serene but also down to earth so talking with her is always easy.

At the end of the evening, Sarah asked me if she could come stay at my house that night. Of course I said yes. We got the futon set up and then ended up talking Chinese philosophy for an hour or so. She had a copy of the Tao te Ching that she had gotten for Zach originally. I had brought up Chuang Tzu at the dinner table when Dad had spoken of his visit to the Abbey of Gethsemane while he was in college. Thomas Merton was famously in residence there at the time. I commented that Merton wrote a book of Chuang Tzu stories set as poetry which I had in my library. I read a couple of them to Sarah. We talked about the pros and cons of setting goals and striving for them and whether I was happy with my life choices.

In the morning, we were slow to get up but eventually we got out for breakfast at the Chit Chat where we ate and drank our tea watching rain squalls over the mighty Pacific Ocean out the window. I still didn’t have the energy for anything outdoors so we settled on going to a movie for the afternoon. We saw Arrival, which I thought was very interesting. As with any science fiction, one needs a willing suspension of disbelief but the story hung together reasonably well. It is based, so the credits say, on The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. I had actually noted that when I saw the trailer a month or so ago so I’ve really got to do it now.

Sarah headed home after the movie and I did the same. There were a lot of cut up vegetables left over from Thursday so I did a stir fry and Rose joined me for dinner and glass of wine. Her ribs are still bothering her so we parted with a gentle hug and I went straight to bed.

Today I have another trip to Santa Clara for lunch with Charlie Centofante after which I will again go to see Mom and Dad and say goodbye to Aunt Kathleen.

sleep

I want to write about my weekend in Denver but first I’m going to make this quick post about sleep. We got in to SFO at a little after 11; I went and got the car and came back to pick up Mom & Dad around midnight; got to Santa Clara around 12:35 (no one on the highway!); got home at 1:30; got right in bed and . . . couldn’t sleep! After about an hour of tossing and turning I finally took an ibuprofen which put me out until 6 when the alarm went off.

Work at 8 am was the Cat Stevens show at DSH which had been giving JJ fits for weeks but it came off fine. I walked out of the building at 2 am, though; got home at 2:30 . . . and couldn’t sleep. Hmmm. I didn’t want to take a sleeping pill since I had to get up again for another 8 o’clock call. Ibuprofen did the trick. The alarm was set to 6:40 and I slept right into it.

So last night, I was sure I would collapse early in the evening. I had surprisingly felt pretty decent the whole two days so I was again surprised when I made it to 8:30 without falling asleep on my feet. I thought about taking a sleeping pill but thought I would try it without since I was (should have been) really tired.

I fell asleep pretty quick but woke up at 9:30 with the certainty that I wasn’t going to get to sleep easily again. So, Ibuprofen to the rescue. I think I thought that I should have been tired enough to not have to take a pill but I was kind of jumpy and the ibu usually takes care of that.

It did, but I woke again at 1:30 and took another dose, which got me to 4:45. I woke with the certainty that there would be no more sleep, even though my call today is 9 and I could have gone back to bed. I actually fell ok!

Caffeine has played a major role in all this. I took a pill – actually an excedrin – Monday morning and again yesterday but aside from that I had no headaches or other problems needing pain pills. This morning I’m having a cup of black tea. It’s just to have tea, though, not for the jolt.

Tomorrow is an early call (6 am) but I’m supposed to be off tonight at 7 so I should be able to get a good night in. Friday I am off. Laundry day!

feelings

I think originally this was going to be a post about being depressed. When I described how I felt to my therapist after the weekend in July that’s what she said it was. That led to some good conversation but minimal improvement until this week.

Actually it was a couple of weeks ago that I started to improve. I got a guitar lesson and did better with my exercises (PT). I look at my posts over the time before that and I see ‘reaction’, ‘more reaction’, ‘killed’, ‘reality’, ‘legacy’, ‘work’ – pretty bleak.

And that’s just what I actually wrote. It’s a lot less than I wanted to write and it’s not as bleak as what I was thinking.

Anyway, last week I took my guitar to the Fall Semester’s first meeting of the Skyline Jazz Band. There were many familiar faces and they were all glad to see me. That felt good. I was able to follow the charts reasonably well so I decided I would try to stick with it.

Now tonight is the first night I have at home this week and I had great plans but I happened to look at my work email and discovered some things that could not be ignored. Aargh! Now I’m all pissy again.

I whined and got tomorrow off so hopefully I can recover. I have work Friday and Saturday days only then two days off. Next week is the Gala opening for the Symphony so there is much chaos at Davies Symphony Hall.

I’ll try to post something more coherent tomorrow.

work

Man, this working every day sucks! I’ve been trying to write a post for days and there just isn’t time. I get home, eat dinner, and poop out completely. I was off Monday (after a 16 hour day on Sunday) but went to PT  and then jazz band in the evening. I believe I didn’t turn on the computer all day.

Of course, there’s more to the story. The post I’ve been trying to write was titled ‘depressed’ so that’s the real reason. Monday those things happened but they were interspersed with lots of laying around. My therapist says it’s ok so there you go.

Honestly, today has been better. Is work the cure for depression? Hardly, but a better night’s sleep helped a lot. Sunday really kicked my ass although I was low before that.

The projects at work have been useful and, arguably, helping get me back on track. The easiest for a non-stagehand to understand is the canopy cleaning we did earlier this month. The first picture with the line array is from last summer. The second is partly done, so you can see the difference in the same light. The third is how it looks now. Yeah I am pleased to be part of making the old hall look better!

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more reaction

In my post titled ‘reaction’, I remember thinking about my reaction when I started it but ended up doing mostly just a news story about the weekend. Jeremy and Ashley left on Tuesday morning and I’ve been low ever since. Actually I’ve been low ever since that Sunday when I got home.

It hasn’t helped that I’ve been working way more than I’d like to be. in the 13 days since that Tuesday, I’ve worked 11 with 2 other days being evenings only. I thought I’d be ready to get rolling right away after but that has not proven to be the case. Part of the problem is that JJ’s wife went in the hospital last weekend and I ended up working three extra days to cover for him.

I hate to say no in a case like that but at some point I’m going to have to. We are scheduled for maintenance work all this week and next followed by a week of shows followed by possibly more maintenance work followed by the Symphony Gala week. There are a couple of holes in that schedule but not enough. JJ was supposed to be in today but he bailed to care for Amy and now he won’t be in tomorrow. I feel obligated to stick it out to help him so it’s hard. Maybe I can get out of next week . . .

I got a call from Teresa today just checking in. That made me feel better. Also I saw Dr Perry tonight so that helps as well. Onward! (Still using sleeping pills, tho’. Tried a couple of times to go without but that didn’t work.)

MTT

My job tonight was running the house electrics at Davies Symphony Hall. I’m filling in for JJ who is on vacation. I’ve been doing this on and off for over a year now and I’m still not completely confident that I will remember all the little details.

Anyway, the Symphony is playing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with a huge orchestra and chorus & I’m a little tense. MTT is conducting. I have a couple of internal cues so I have to hang in the light booth more than I might ordinarily. I can hear but only through speakers in the booth. About 30 minutes in I notice that the audience is unusually rapt and quiet during the very quiet parts. By the last 20 minutes – now over an hour into the piece –  when the chorus stands up to sing, I can see that the audience is hardly moving they’re so intent. A couple sitting right in front of the booth just look at each other briefly as if to say, ‘Can you believe this?’

MTT is a man possessed and yet not. He’s in complete control. Sometimes I look at the monitor that shows the face that the orchestra sees and he is seemingly relaxed. From the audience he is willowy yet taut. Once again I have to reflect on the treasure we have here in San Francisco. Now that I’ve been here with the Symphony for a while, I know more of his story. He’s a living link to great artists of the 20th Century like Gershwin and Bernstein. He often seems mercurial when shows are in development such as what I’ve witnessed in SoundBox but the results are almost always astounding. He is a treasure.

Edit after (sort of) seeing this show two more times. The band is pretty good too! It was hard to quantify my own take the second and third hearings. Actually none of them were true experiences of the music. I saw Lolly Lewis at the Friday show and I expect she will put a review up on her blog. It’s not there yet but check out her writing anyway: https://lollylewis.wordpress.com/

dishes

I did my dishes this morning. 6 breakfast cereal bowls, one small plate, a couple of plastic containers, a couple of water glasses, and some silverware. That represents all the meals I’ve eaten at home for the last week. I worked through the dinner hour 5 of the last six days. The sixth, Monday, I drove up to Sacramento to record a part for Tom’s album & stayed up there for dinner.

I didn’t really work through the dinner hour. All I mean is that I wasn’t home for dinner for six days in a row.

I counted up my work days per month for the year this morning. 15, 13, 13, 16, 21, & June will have 13 after tomorrow. Except for May, that’s not too bad. I’m certainly grateful to have the work but given that many of those days are longer than 8 hours, it can be tough. Heading home last night I was whipped. Even though I felt I hadn’t done a lot, I was at work from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. That was pretty much the story for the last week and will be the story for the next three days.

The maintenance needed light came on in my car Monday and I haven’t done anything about it. (Just realized it might just be the oil change timer which is bogus.) I was going to call the garage yesterday and arrange to get in in this morning but I didn’t. Today I have physical therapy followed by mental therapy in San Mateo this afternoon so leaving it somewhere for the day was never an option. This morning I’m engaged in the mental therapy of writing in this blog.

Whine, whine, whine.  I’m still happy to have reduced my use of ibuprofen. Whether that’s because of the exercises or something else is impossible to say. Maybe next week I’ll have fierce headaches every day. It does happen.

Finally, Zach. Pretty soon everyone will converge here in California to release his ashes to the earth. Not really everyone; perhaps not even those he was closest to, but a largely self-chosen group of relatives. After some contentious moments, it looks like we have a plan and everyone is on board.