My Favorite Holiday – New Years!

As long as I can remember New Years has been my absolute favorite holiday. All the Christmas clutter has been taken down and put away…I’ve cleared my desk, emptied work spaces and feel prepared for “new things to come”. My tradition is to write my New Year’s resolutions/goals on Dec 31st and frame them in the most prominent place in our house where I’ll see them daily. On New Years’ Eve I’ve taken stock of how I did with the previous year’s goals and decide what is realistic and of current concern for the new year. This year on the top of my list is to engage in more creative, unproductive play (hence, this website) and to commit to spend more time on health related issues (I’m pedalling as I write this blog…no more sitting still).

I have much gratitude for all the years that have preceded this one, and much hopefulness for the years to come. But I know that only by staying conscious and aware will I grow and change. I believe we are all “works in process” of becoming the people we envision ourselves capable of becoming. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Fun Christmas Day with our kids!

Yesterday we drove down to Eugene, OR to spend the day with Karsten, Christine, Ryan and Tyler. Fortunately the roads were clear and it was an easy drive. Penny went too, so we had the car full of dog, presents, and food. It was so good to spend some time with each of the grandkids and get caught up on all their school classes and activities. They are all doing very well! We got to see Karsten’s newly painted Porsche he’s restoring. It’s a big project, but well underway.

A Wonderful Concert!

Yesterday we were honored to see André Watts play the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor with the Oregon Symphony. As many times as I’ve heard this beautiful piano concerto, I’ve never been more moved as I was at this incredible performance by André Watts. The combination of his playing, Grieg’s composition, and our Oregon Symphony literally brought me to tears of rapture. This is an expression of the true power of music to touch our hearts and soul. Thank you André and all the musicians that made this concert possible.

2nd Movement of Piano Concerto in A minor – Edvard Grieg played by Stephen Kovacevich, Colin Davis; BBC Symphony Orchestra

Enjoyed a Trip to Sunny Arizona

We just returned from visiting Tucson, AZ for Mark’s 50th high school reunion. The weather couldn’t have been nicer. It was a real “blast from the past” for Mark and he really enjoyed seeing several old friends from his school days. We also got to re-visit his father’s grave and Mark showed me all the places they lived in Tucson and all the schools he went to during his youth. Very nostalgic for him.

On Sunday we left and drove to Phoenix with the rental car and spent one night there. On our way we stopped to see the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. I wasn’t expecting much, but was incredibly surprised by this outstanding, “best in the world” museum. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone visiting AZ. It is an amazing museum that showcases musical instruments from every corner of the globe, and has audio and visual (heard thru headphones) of each country to accompany seeing the actual instruments. We only had 4 hours to see it all, but wish we could have stayed longer. This museum is a must-see! It was truly inspiring.

Every Brilliant Thing

Yesterday I saw a wonderful new play called “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan performed by Isaac Lamb at the Portland Center Stage. Isaac did a superb job in this one-man show which also involved plenty of audience participation and improvisation. Although the subject matter, suicide, was dark, the play as a whole incorporated plenty of humor and an uplifting message that “life is worth living” if we choose to focus on every brilliant thing around us. The play has also been produced on HBO and can be streamed.

It was an altogether great afternoon at the theatre!

We heard Joshua Bell play with the Oregon Symphony

Last night we attended our last concert with the Oregon Symphony for this season. The highlight was hearing Joshua Bell play the Sibelius Violin Concert. His playing was phenomenal! What a gift! If you ever get the chance to hear him in person, don’t miss it. The Sibelius was beautiful and extremely difficult. The audience went wild with applause. The Oregon Symphony also played Stravinsky’s complete Firebird Ballet. I can just imagine how tired the musicians were after such a night of playing very difficult music. Our conductor, Carlos Kalmar, is wonderful! We’re looking forward to next season’s concerts.

Interesting trip to the John Day Fossil Beds

We enjoyed a quick getaway trip to Eastern Oregon to see the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We stayed at the Condon Hotel which was an historic hotel built in the early 20th century. The weather was warm and dry which was a nice change from the cool wetness at home. I especially enjoyed seeing the Painted Hills near Mitchell, OR. They were as beautiful as all the photos I’d seen. We did a lot of driving, plus a few nice hikes. It’s a very sparsely populated area. I loved the smell of sagebrush…smelled just like a turkey in the oven! On our drive home we stopped to see the Maryhill Museum. That sure is a strange place! The best part of it was the huge collection of American Indian basketry.

Here’s a short video I made of our trip to the Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills.