Friday, November 27, 2009

Disney Musings

We got to Disney T'giving Day, about 2:00. Our room was not ready so we parked the car behind the Paradise Pier Hotel and walked to Downtown Disneyland. MAN, this place is different since I was here. Our room was ready shortly after 3, and our bellman brought our stuff up to our room. We had dinner reservations for 5:30 at the Jazz Cafe Downtown Disney (DD). Everyone was SO nice. We said how sorry we were that they had to work on T'giving and TO A ONE, they said, "That's ok, I'm glad to be working today." I had turducen, and as good as it was, I don't have to have it again. We actually hit the hay early and I was asleep by 8:00. Seven hours in the car (with stops) was a long day.

We got up at 6:30 as we were told that as a guest of the Paradise Pier, we could get into the park early, at 7:00. WRONGO!! Sooo, we walked back to the Grand Californian (the new HUGE Hotel on the property) and had their breakfast buffet, which was NOT cheap, but I digress...

We got into the park at opening 8:00 and headed right to Tomorrow Land where we got on Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain and the submarine ride, with NO wait!!! We then headed into Adventure Land for the Jungle Ride (about 8 minutes) and Pirates (<10 minutes)

A few odd things: The rocket ships that used to be above the people mover have been moved to the entrance to Tomorrow Land. There IS NO PEOPLE MOVER; I was bummed. The Swiss Family Tree House has been converted to "Tarzan's Tree House" and it doesn't make any sense because all the Swiss Family Robinson's stuff is all there, minus the cool stuff like the water wheel and water delivery system. I'd skip it. The Monorail does NOT go all the way to the Disneyland Hotel anymore; it stops in DD.

We wanted to take the sternwheeler around Tom Sawyer's island, but there was no place to sit down, so we got off.

We had lunch in New Orleans Square, and then headed to the Matterhorn. That was our longest wait, >20 minutes. But the line kept moving, and fast.

So we did all the big rides before 5:00. Headed back to the room and we are having dinner with Jeannine Flores (one of our BCMW friends) at 7:00. We'll head back into the park for Fireworks.

California Adventure tomorrow!

8:09 PM. Jeannine joined us for dinner at the PCH grill, and yes, she was wearing pants!

Monday, November 16, 2009

End of Oregon trip

Saturday, Nov 14. Slept in, packed and had a nice breakfast with Joan & Paul. They dropped me off at the Salem train station and I decided to upgrade to a bigger room on the 11 train, the Coast Starlight south. Elaine at the station was very helpful and was able to save me some money by finagling the tickets around. I had a few hours to kill so Elaine took care of my tuba while I went to a sports bar across the street. I had been in contact with an old HS friend who lives in Salem. I got her phone number through Facebook and I gave her a call. In no time, Karen Hansson and her husband Al came by the bar and we had a WONDERFUL visit. We spoke about old times and between Karen and (mostly) me, poor Al couldn't get in a word edgewise. The 11 was right on time and I got on board and settled in to my room. I met a fellow, George, who was traveling to SJ to visit family for T'giving. I had dinner with Ron who was also heading south for T'Giving. He grew up in La Honda, and was around there in the 60's. He had some stories to tell about the Hell's Angels, and Neil Young, who lived next door. Jack Kerouac did his greatest work while living in La Honda. I turned in early.

Sunday AM, I had breakfast with an elderly gentleman, who didn't talk much. I was really hungry so I asked for both the omlet AND french toast. Jack, the dining car steward, ok'd the request. The Capitol Corridor train had some problem, so we were sidetracked to pick up some passengers who were being dropped off in Hayward, Fremont and Santa Clara. Our train hit Diradon Station right on time anyway. LC was there to pick me up and took me right home.

As much as I love my sorties out of town, it is GREAT to be home. OWO tonight!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oregon Day 6

Friday, November 13. REALLY light day. I have a lesson scheduled with Linfield’s tubist @12:30, then the concert at 7:30. I’m ready to go. We’ll see how the day progresses….

I met with Megan at about 12:45 and we worked for way over an hour. Joan and I took a ride into town to get some supplies for the house. When we got home, I was feeling kind of sneezy, so I took a couple of Benedryl and promptly fell asleep! My iPhone alarm woke me up at 6:30, I got dressed and headed for the concert.

We played at the First Baptist Church of McMinnville, a nice place for a concert. Joan narrated the concert, reading program notes before each work performed. It is obvious that she has created quite a rapport with the Linfield audience.

I played pretty well. The guest conductor, Jeff Hornik, prepared the accompaniment very well. The audience was very gracious, and I played my encore. I boffed the VERY ending of if a bit, so I played it twice! Live music wahdaygonnddoaboudit?

At the end of the concert, I spoke with few people about the though of coming up to Salem once a month to do some teaching. There seemed to be some real interest in this so I'll work on this when I get home.

After we went to a little hotel downtown for some food and I had risotto. I got home about 10:15, read a while & reflected upon the week. As much as I love doing these out of town engagements, it’ll be great to be back at 321 Dallas soon!

Tomorrow, I hang at Joan’s awhile and leave for Salem around noon to catch the 3:37 Coast Starlight bound for San Jose, and point south.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon, Day 5

Thursday, November 12. NICE, SLOW morning. Ran around a bit with Joan’s kids and hung around their really nice house, which Paul actually built from scratch. My room is away from the rest of the family and animals that I feel like I’m in guest quarters.

At 4:00 I went to the performance seminar. I played first, “Introduction & Dance” by Barat. Then each of the students played for me, one at a time. I worked with a clarinetist, saxophonist, trombonist, tubist and an oboist. I had a great time, they all played well and I believe I was able to offer them a few suggestions that helped them along the path of musical growth.

Also, I made GREAT connect. The pianist here, Sarah, and her husband run a music school in or near Salem. While driving from Salem to Dayton, I spoke with Mary Lou about coming up once a month to do some private teaching. I spoke about this with Sarah and she seemed excited about the project. I’ll come up with a list of dates and I might be able to make something happen up here. There is no tuba teacher in Salem, so it might be a good inroad for me, perhaps looking towards the future. WHO KNOWS? Housing is cheap up here, relatively.

After seminar, we had a 6:30 band rehearsal at the First Baptist Church of McMinnville, where the concert is to be held. Rehearsal went off without a hitch (one percussionist didn't show up). Done before 7:10. We went over to a local Mexican restaurant for food. They featured excellent strawberry margaritas and chili rellenos. Home early, asleep before 10.

As much as I love these sojourns, I’m ready to be home. I hit the Coast Starlight Saturday, and I’ll be in my own place Sunday AM.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oregon, Day 4

Wed, Nov 11. – Veteran’s Day. Nothing planned for today. Mary Lou will pick me up noonish to drive me to McMinnville. Being reflective and thankful for all those men & women who put their lives on the line so that we may enjoy the freedoms we DO have left.

It’s supposed to rain all day between here & there. I’m glad I brought my umbrella.

Mary Lou picked me up at noon, and we had a wonderful lunch in an old Victorian house that was converted to a restaurant. We drove out to Dayton, OR, where we were met by Paul, Joan’s husband. We got the the Paddock homestead. Both of Joan’s children, John Martin and Helen, have grown so much since I was here last, I hardly recognized them.

I had a great cup of coffee (UNLIKE the crappy in-room coffee from the morning) and went over to Linfeld College to coach a brass quartet.

We went to dinner at a great Italian joint, owned by a little old Italian guy who used to cook in Las Vegas for the Rat Pack.

Tomorrow, I have a seminar and a rehearsal. Should be really easy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oregon, Day 3

Tuesday, November 10. I had a class at 8 o’clock this morning with a class of FIFTH GRADERS. I did my funny breathing thing, played a tune and we are done; 30-minutes in and out. Then I went over to the high school, where I spoke to a class of young musicians who are interested in various area of the music field. Having been involved in different sides of music (teaching, playing, union activities, management, auditions, and the like) I was able to field many questions, give informed answers (peppered with MY take on things) on a variety of subjects. These are sharp, educated young adults and engaged me in many topics and asked some really pointed questions. This was a 90-minute session. After this class, Mary Lou had her second band and showed the tape from their last marching band show. It was cool just hanging with the kids for this period. DURING the class time, I gave a private lesson to a young tuba student who just switched from baritone and is HIGHLY motivated to improve on tuba. I gave him a copy of my book and we worked for almost an hour.

After that, the wind ensemble rehearsed my piece in the auditorium, then I spoke AGAIN to this class about the biz and various experiences I have had over my career. They asked for some stories about odd or funny thing that went on around playing and teaching. With my years with Cleve, I had DOZENS of stories to tell.

After, I went for lunch at a nice Chinese place. As I type this, I await my 6:30 ride to the concert.

The concert went well. The combined Jr. High band played two tunes, then the HS played a tune. I played the ‘Concertino’ and 'Syrinx.' The HS band played a very emotive piece honoring our servicemen & women, and we were done. In and out one hour, MY kind of concert!

We went to ‘A slice of New York’ (it wasn’t) for pizza. I had a salad. Heading off to bed. I leave for McMinnville tomorrow AM. A good day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oregon Day 2

Monday, November 9, day 2. CRAPPY night’s sleep. Woke at 2 AM and watch Law and Order reruns on local cable access TV. Finally, at 6, I succumbed to the tossing and turning, I got out of bed. I wrote in my blog then got up and went down to breakfast at the Phoenix Inn. I had eggs, sausage, bagel & coffee. My suit jacket was wrinkled when I removed it from my suitcase yesterday and oddly, it didn’t seem so bad this morning. Does is UNwrinkle hanging overnight? Anyway, it needed some touching up. With the iron & board in my room, I got SOME of the wrinkles that were left. Showered, dressed and waiting for Mary Lou to come get me at 8:45.

I got to the Jr Hi about 9 AM and I played and spoke with 3 bands. After a terrific lunch (I had coconut curry summer squash soup!) I went to the High School and rehearsed my solo. After school, I worked with the band’s two tuba players and the euphonium student, who’s name is Tony!

After that, Mary Lou took me on a nice driving tour of Salem. I saw Wilamette College, the revived downtown area, the river walk and other local hot spots. Then we drove through a part of Salem that looked just Like the Capitol Expressway In San Jose, YUCK! We then drove out east and saw miles of beautiful farm land. With the rain up here like it does, the land is green and lush, much like the Santa Cruz hills. We ended our drive at the Governor’s mansion, up in the east side hills. I was delivered safety to my hotel and will have dinner later with Mary Lou .

Had a nice dinner at a local ‘roadhouse.’ Turned in early, asleep by 9:15.

Oregon trip

Saturday, Nov 7, 8:30 PM. The Coast Starlight gets into Diradon Station, San Jose early so I board ahead of time. I have checked my suitcase through. It weighs 45 lbs and they won’t take anything over 50. WHEW! It’ll be lighter coming home as I have several copies of my book that I will be giving away up here. My car attendant is Anthony and he shows me up to my room, 2. Dinner is still being served so I go to the dining car after settling in, where I meet Patrick, who is the dining car steward, and my server, Irma. I have a piece of braised beef and a salad; I am not too hungry. By the time I get back to my car, Anthony has made up my bed and in minutes, I snuggle in and am asleep. I love riding the rails; the motion, the sound of the clacking metal wheels on the tracks.

Sunday, November 8, 3 AM. WIDE AWAKE! SHOOT! I eat the sandwich I brought along from Subway and I turn on Pandora radio. The ”Spa” channel plays this artys-fartsy new agey stuff that puts me right out. 6AM I get up and shower. The train shower is just BARELY large enough for me. But there is plenty of hot water and I feel refreshed. I go to the dining car for breakfast, where I am met once again by Patrick, and Irma. The guys work until 10-11 every night getting ready for the next day, and they have to report back the next morning, 5:30-6:00 to prepare breakfast. I suspect the engineers & conductors have a strong union, and I think the train workers (who have a separate union) do not. I have been told that it harkens back to the day when the engineers & conductors were all white, and the other workers were not.

During breakfast, I see Mt Shasta retreating in the distance behind Train #14. I have breakfast with 3 others, none of whom give me their names. The man besides me rides an R1200 GS BMW. The woman across the table tells a wonderful story about how she met her husband ON THE TRAIN! The other woman, who has very short, blond hair and a hint of a British accent, doesn’t really get a chance to get a word in edgewise, so I know nothing about her.

I go back to my room and listen to Pandora and read. The scenery out my window is beautiful, the lower cascades and Klamath Lake are among my favorite sights. I get a 12:15 lunch reservation.

12:00 I head to the dining car and purchase a commemorative coffee mug, that has a cool picture and ‘Coast Starlight’ on it. I sit at lunch with a couple, Terry & Jerry (YES!!) and a woman who doesn’t offer her name, but hammers 3 bloody marys before my lunch (veggie burger) arrives. We stop in Eugene and she runs out to grab a smoke. Hmmmmm.

At SOME train stops they take a ‘fresh air’ break where people can get off and stretch. They always tell you to remain trainside so we can leave when it's time. Well apparently a few people wandered off too far and the Coast Starlight left a handful of people in Eugene. STUPIDOS!

I arrive in Salem right on time and my dear friend from high school Mary Lou is waiting for me with her husband, Don. She hasn’t aged a day and we recognize each other right away. Of course I’m the only guy with a tuba on my back. I am staying in the Phoenix Inn and have a wonderful suite on the 4th floor.

At 6:00 Mary Lou & Don come pick me up for dinner, a nice Mexican place just down the street. Home at 8:30ish and asleep in moments. Tomorrow is Day 1 in Salem. Can’t wait to see the kids.