Well, um…let’s see…

Where to start?

As more time passes without an update, the job of “catching up” becomes more daunting.

When I first started keeping diaries as a teenager, there were periods when I didn’t write every day. But the little hard-bound red book had a date for each page, so I would faithfully go back several weeks through the blank, accusing pages to fill in each one. It’s amazing what the imagination can conjure up.

Then as an adult, weeks and sometimes months would go by without an entry. I didn’t bother trying to fill in each day “in retrospect” any more. Whenever I resumed writing after a protracted absence, my first sentences would invariably read: “So much has happened! It will take a BOOK to catch up!”

I am fighting the urge to write these very lines now. Well, I just did.

James and I are gradually settling into our place In The Woods. It is getting colder now and James has fixed both wood-burning stoves — one in the Music Room and the other in the Bunkhouse, where we sleep. These rusty old stoves work surprisingly well; the blast of heat will put you out of the room if you’re not careful.

We are currently burning some cedar logs which were originally cut into large sections; it started out as a huge branch which was cut from the tree out front, a few years ago. Then it was chopped into smaller chunks which still needed to be split further, and left in the front yard.

James and I spent an afternoon splitting wood. He had seen it done but I hadn’t, so we were both inexperienced. We took turns holding the wedge while the other wielded the hammer-end of the axe. Luckily no hands were harmed in the process.

But we quickly decided that buying a wood-splitter was in order.

Since wood needs to “cure” for a season before use, we will need to buy several cords, preferably oak, which burns better than the ubiquitous pine which is everywhere on this land.

Over the past several weeks, we have unpacked almost every box and James has decorated the rooms attached to the barn in his usual fine, artsy style. Our things look better here than they did in Bisbee. Of course, we feel better in this location!

Yesterday I asked James what project we should pursue next. He said that there are so many things to do. I suggested that we put on a new roof of corrugated tin, since there were several leaks during last Friday’s storm. So hopefully we will get to that in the coming week.

I am already starting to get horn work in various area orchestras, and have been busy practicing to get into better shape than I was while playing the same “Phantom” music over and over again for ten years.

I played a gig with the Sacramento Philharmonic on Sept. 15th, and then the opening concert “set” with the Symphony Silicon Valley in San Jose last week. Next up is the Sacramento Philharmonic’s opening concert set (including Mahler’s Fifth Symphony) from Oct. 10th-13th.

This is the time of year when orchestras gear up their new seasons, and I am fortunate to be a part of two excellent ensembles right at the beginning of their concert series. These sets usually consist of three or four rehearsals starting on Wednesday, culminating in one or two concerts over the weekend.

It will be interesting to see how much substitute work I am called for with these groups over the coming orchestra season, which generally lasts through late May or early June.

I am making my first appearance on harp in Nevada City this afternoon, at the County Library’s 100th anniversary party. I will improvise background music for about 45 minutes, before their main entertainment starts at 5:30.

Yesterday, James printed me up some business cards for my harp gigs; they turned out very well. It will be good to have cards to pass around at the Library today. I have asked James to make me some horn business cards as well.

Reading over this entry, it sounds like a group family letter at Christmas! Well, the readers of this blog are in fact a “family” of sorts, so if the shoe fits….however, I hope that my writing style is not too mundane today.