Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ready for Time Away

"It's been a quiet week in Lake . . . "

Well no, but I am getting ready for about ten days of vacation during which I intend to rejuvenate and recalibrate sufficiently to gear up for a new school year.

In this season of my life I juggle my playing and teaching very awkwardly around my kids' schedules. Summer camps, ballet classes, immersion Spanish at the local junior college, a middle school graduation—supporting these involvements often trumps memorizing another page of notes or pitching a concert proposal to a presenter two time-zones away. With three adolescents in the house life is never boring but I also know that this time is fleeting.

My wife and I are not nostalgic for the “terrible twos” but we’re not ready for the grandkids either. It has been a while since the sight of a newborn gave my wife that “I want another baby” look. We are solidly confirmed in our middle age, and we enjoy the vast majority of it. For two musicians to build a reasonably functional life in the same city, stay married and reasonably sane is no small achievement in these times.

One of the reasons I was drawn to the strange and wonderful life of college teaching was the calendar with the long summer vacation. Ironically, "summer" has become one of the more difficult of my life management challenges. This summer we could only find a single week when all five of us can get away at the same time.

My ideal vacation is close to a beach or the mountains with books, quiet and comfortable access to a piano. The kids have roundly vetoed any such concept this year. They want to be tourists, see a White Sox game, climb the Sears Tower and generally exhaust themselves with over-stimulation. Warning: it really is a bad idea to raise children who think independently--it's just so inconvenient. So we’re off to Chicago and we’ll have a blast.

An aside: Paul Robinson, my piano guru/technician/friend, took me to visit the newly rebuilt Steinway D that he recently finished at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown San Diego. It is GORGEOUS. A beautiful piano that plays like an absolute dream, it is a magnificent achievement. Bravo!

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