Monday, December 28, 2009

Through a Glass, Darkly (It's Bible-talk for 'Looking in the Mirror')

What is it about the end of the year that leads to so much reflection? I'm pretty sure I've made it clear that I am no fan of introspection; it just leads to thoughts of self-improvement, and frankly I don't have time for that kind of nonsense.

I've already written my New Year's Resolution post, and if I do say so myself, it's a work of art. There isn't one thing in it that will demand any effort more novel than turning my chair to the light twice a day and arranging for someone to water me occasionally.

Nevertheless, through no fault of my own I seem to have contracted a case of the randoms, and I've got to get them out of my head if I'm ever going to have enough room in there for the excuses as to why I forgot to go to the gym this decade.

So I'm sorry gang, it was either you or my Sunday School class, and I think we can all agree they've suffered enough.

Random Reflection #1:

The music has started again. My particular brand of insanity has never been of the 'voices talking in my head' ilk. Undoubtedly, there are at least three people living happy, productive lives between my ears, but they're harmless enough, and their presence guarantees there will always be someone who understands what I'm saying in the dentist's chair.

No, my little dose o' crazy sings to me, accompanied by flutes and oboes, or, when I've eaten Cafe Rio enchiladas too late at night, an entire symphonic orchestra.

When last March I walked away from the world of homicidally psychopathic performing artists, commonly known as 'church musicians' because 'Spanish Inquisition' was taken, I was perfectly fine with never picking up a baton or writing another note again.

(I want it understood, I'm talking about a few of the adults involved, not the kids. I loved those kids, every single one of them. The adults...well...let's just say women should not be allowed to clump together to form "boards" or "committees" or "book clubs" for longer than it takes to figure out what that sudden, sharp pain in your back might be...)

But lately, just before the Advil PM kicks in and scatters the harmonies like inexperienced seagulls, the arrangements have begun fluttering around my pre-dreams.

So, while I can't imagine a time when I would ever again take on the nearly-thankless job of conducting a symphony and chorus, should there occur an anomalous planetary alignment just as the doctors finish my partial lobotomy, and an anesthesia-induced "yes" makes a break for it at the same time Satan himself asks if I'd like to wave a stick before 150 musicians, I may well have a portfolio full of music for them to play.

We'll see.

Random Reflection #2:

During my recent gall bladder celebration, a little 'shadow' on my pancreas turned up on the ultra-sound, sending me to the CT scan people, who said it was nothing whatsoever and I should be ashamed of myself for wasting their valuable time so close to Black Friday.

But it kind of freaked out my husband, which wasn't good because my father's sudden death in September had already thoroughly freaked out me.

I think we're living our lives via imaginary headlines: "Music Teacher's Head Explodes After Ten-thousandth Student Insists on Playing 'Fur Elise'" or "Federal Agent Chokes on the Steady Stream of Crapola He is Expected to Swallow on a Daily Basis".

Those of you who have suffered a scare or a loss, how long does it take to get back to the happy illusion that nothing bad will ever happen to the people you love? Because if it's longer than - hang on, let me check my Pristiq supply - OK, looks like eleven weeks, I'm going to need to make another trip to my drug dealer, er, I mean, internist.

Random Reflection #3:

It has occurred to me that there is no clean line of demarcation between childhood and adulthood. I have three kids in college (one is attending a College/High School), my oldest is 22, and I still marvel at how little they know about the real world.

Parents of small children, do your kids a favor: On their 8th birthdays, give them a credit card, sign them up for an apprenticeship with your neighborhood's version of Mr. Fezziwigg, and start charging them for their portion of the utilities.

My kids are the best in the world, and yet for all intents and purposes they're as inexperienced in dealing with real life as a plate of boiled cabbage. Where did we go wrong?

Random Reflection #4:

Does anyone still read "Family Circus" without vomiting all over their newspaper?

Upon reflection, that last reflection probably didn't require a lot of, you know, reflection.

Happy final week of eating junk food, all.


Christine Macdonald said...

Love your Random Reflections. I am happy to read you and will continue to do so!!!!

I am amazed at 20-somethings who are mature enough to realize they don't know everything and also, to learn life's lessons as they come.

Great post!


Kristina P. said...

Well, I'm glad that your pancreas doesn't hate you yet. And I haven't suffered any major losses and yet I am constantly worried that something will happen to Adam.

Motherboard told me it only gets worse when you have kids. Awesome.

Hope to see you soon in the New Year!

L.T. Elliot said...

That pic of you and your drugs is FABULOUS! Seriously, can I buy some? (j/k You look great!)

I think that's AWESOME that you write music in your near-sleep. See how amazing you are? Writer of music and plucky detectives! Not to mention hilarious blog posts!

rachel said...

I am a friend of Lara's and found you through her blog; what a delight to find another like-minded-musician! We are a different breed, though, aren't we? :)

I've been dutifully eating my fudge and will run out before the month is even over! Dang.

Charlotte said...

Once a friend told a story about her mother, who kept complaining that the neighbors were playing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show too loudly but there was no theme being played by any neighbors. I thought it was so weird that someone could hear music in their head so real they thought it was coming from somewhere else. Until I told my mom and husband. They both hear music all the time. I guess I'm saying my family shares the same insanity you do!

Lara said...

Just because you aren't conducting anyone certainly doesn't mean you can't compose something. Silly you.
Sit down and do it. And if you do some sort of solo arrangement, I'll perform it!

I'm sorry to hear that my children will not be growing up. Sometimes I'm shocked at how little my 9 year old knows, I can't imagine still having to feel this when she is 22. But, I will take your advice and sign her up for a credit card and a job ASAP.

Happy New Year! :)

The Garden of Egan said...

DeNae.........make the voices stop! I can't keep up? I don't know a thing that you were reflecting or musing about.....maybe I need your Presiq.

The voices in my head are saying YEA to the end of 2009.....2010 better be nicer to me.

REally? Only a few more days of junk food and then you are gonna get all healthy on me? Haven't you been raised better than that?
Come on ...... what about all the'd turn your back on that?
DeNae...quit talkin' nonsense!
Pass the fudge!

Becca said...

(I'm afraid I might go sort of serious on you here. If you'd rather delete me, feel free...)

Its' possible you never look at mortality quite the same way after you lose either a parent or a child. No matter how old or young.
You learn to hold on a little tighter, a little longer. So that's good, right?

Kazzy said...

In response to #3... I am SO with ya! Where DID we go wrong? Come on, guys!

AS Amber said...

So I'm coming to you from my new droid. It's pretty sweet and I'm hoping it will let me comment more easily from my phone.
I'm still waiting for life to feel normal without dad. I'm nervous for 2010 because dad was never in 2010. I have memories of him in all the years but this coming one.
And I still marvel ( pun?) at people who actually still read a paper newspaper. One containing The Family Circus.
Love you!

Jessica said...

The Family Circus?! Now that is something worth throwing fudge at. I am running low, however and will keep it for myself.

Random Thoughts are always dangerous thoughts...where do they come from?

Corrie Howe said...

It's fun to read other people's random thoughts and discover I'm not crazy or I am crazy.

Melanie J said...

I'm going to be a little serious here. First, it took about 18 months after my parents died before I quit waiting for the other shoe to drop and another year after that before I realized, "Hey. I've been living normally day to day for a while now. When did that happen?"

So it does happen. It's not this constant fear or anything but at some point, that back-of-your-mind worry does fade. Not completely, but enough to be pretty much happy again. And relaxed. Hang in there.

Next, I think of you often because we have this amazing chorale group here called the Orange County Mormon Chorale Organization. They do three concerts a year and they're incredible, backed by a full orchestra and everything in a beautiful multi-million dollar concert hall. Anyway, what I find fascinating is that the two brothers who put the whole thing together are highly trained (pHd in chorale performance, concert piano, blah blah blah) and quite often they do they're own original arrangements or compositions. They're debuting a new oratorio about the Savior on March 31 and I keep thinking, "I soooo should invite DeNae to come visit for a weekend and see that with me." Then I remember that small detail about my baby being due the week before. Then I think, "Well, maybe I could invite her to come be my mom for a few days and bribe her with a date to the performance with my husband." But he tears up at the intense parts so that might not be an inducement. And as beautiful as his voice is and as much as they keep recruiting him to sing, his secret dream is to play the trombone in the orchestra. Ummm....

Anyway, longest comment EVER. I'm going to go answer your email now.

Debbie said...

I always love a good random post. I think I learn more about people from these than the ones we work on and polish up.
Now, I am with you on the music in my head. I've written many a post about those soundtracks I can't seem to shake!

JenJen said...

Great post!
Boiled cabbage...heh.
I have an 8 and a 6....I'm going to raid their piggy banks now!

tammy said...

I worry about my oldest being able to make it in the real world all the time. Granted, he's only 13, but I'm a worrier so I'll start now. That kid has a lot of book smart, but not a lot of common sense. How do you teach a kid that?

My pants were feeling tight yesterday, so I think the healthy eating is starting today.

Qait said...

HAHAHHAHAH oh ew, Family Circus. It induces vomit every single time.

And what??? We'll be done eating junk food soon? Who says?

M-Cat said...

Totally with you on the clumping women together thing. Wrong. wrong.wrong.

And do you ever get over the feeling that something bad will happen? I don't think so. My dad died at 36 of a heart attack and while I have had every heart test known to man at least 3 times or more, and mine is still perfectly healthy, whenever I get chest pain, I'm convinced I am dying.

wendy said...

Oh DeNae, you make me laugh always.
great random reflections. (read while snorting down the last bit of chocolates)
I hate new year resolutions. I never set goals (well, sorta --go figure) as I don't like the disappointment.
Not goals really ---just "lets see if this is at all in the realm of possibility"

have a great new year.
I know you have had some sad experiences this year with the loss of your dad, but really, I admire YOUR STRENGTH AND FAITH and it helps me.

wendy said...
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Paul Wynn said...

#3.. yah where did we go wrong? You are indeed a true essayist.. first time on your blog via Christine's..