Saturday, November 24, 2007



This tree stands just in front of my brother's house along the Delaware River.

Thanksgiving was fun, a somewhat raucous and hedonistic affair. I don't usually drink but my brother's partner (I refuse to call her girlfriend because she is a woman, not a girl) made cranberry daquiris upon my arrival, and I indulged just enough to get a pleasant buzz but not a headache nor a hangover. The food was great; my vegetables were a huge hit--I made brussels sprouts which will change any hater's mind in an instant; they have never failed--and roasted carrots (with garlic, rosemary and thyme, and baked butternut squash with coconut oil, dried cane juice and salt and pepper. There were like five different pies all made by C (brother's partner) and a very nice turkey (all organic of course) and much wine also.

My nephews, the two younger ones, were a bit wild (lots of running and high decibels which threatened to take my sanity) but they enjoyed themselves, clearly.

Today I installed a new light fixture in the kitchen (not an easy task but successful with some crucial assistance from Y who is far better at such things than I) and cleaned.

I have been quite irritable lately which I think is a symptom of some classic hypomania which I am keeping under control by breathing, a little clonazepam and a little weed. So far so good, but not without some stress to those around me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

mr ham

This is Hammy. He is the best. And he's gotten quite big. I think he might be almost as big as Mr. Tuna...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

In two days, or actually less than two days, I will go to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I am going to my brother's house--he lives in Manhattan, but bought a house on the Delaware River a few years back--where my family will gather along with friends of mine and my brother's girlfriend. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, the only holiday I really enjoy.

I am happy because I have a little break from the hectic schedule that I have been maintaining the last two months. I am always busy lately. Even my composing time is tightly scheduled. And I need a break. So tomorrow I will stay home, cooking, relaxing, perhaps going to the gym but maybe not...I plan to enjoy my down time. Because it will be over all too soon. And I want to sleep. A lot, if possible. But I know that I will be lucky if I can sleep any more than usual, because sleep seems to be the source of constant deprivation in my busy life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

oh, i forgot...

This weekend--Sunday evening--I was watching "Pan's Labyrinth" and I had an epiphany. While it was a great movie on many levels, the gory violence was unbearable to watch and seemed utterly unnecessary to the plot: for example, the extended sequence in which one man's head is bashed in with a wine bottle and another man is shot point-blank. I realized that it is really bad karma to have such a thing in my apartment. I have never had any stomach for violence and always cover my eyes--or in this case, leave the room--when it happens on screen. But even to have it at all in my home is repugnant to me. What really scares me is that I can imagine a crowd at a cinema watching all of this while blandly eating their popcorn. There is something scarily wrong about that.

So no more violent movies--hear that, Netflix?--for me. Ever. And one must be vigilant, because even in the most promising films directors seem to have developed an urge to portray the most gruesome things on-screen.

Monday, November 12, 2007

things I have been busy doing:

For lack of a more narrative post, I will submit this list. These are the various things that have been keeping me insanely busy, and busily insane, for the past few weeks.
  1. teaching eight piano students
  2. writing music for a production of "Le Petit Prince"
  3. assembling the text for my choral commission
  4. conducting an interview via email of a German composer living and working in Paris, for a literary/arts journal, to be published soon
  5. going to the gym
  6. writing college recommendations
  7. trying to have a social life but not really succeeding
  8. worrying that Rudy Guiliani could actually become president, and trying to figure out which country I will move to if that should happen
  9. taking Mabel upstate which was wonderful until she rolled in some dead animal, coating her beautiful fur in the most nauseating slime
  10. having trouble sleeping and feeling tired most of the time as a result
  11. reading Colm Toibin's "The Master," a novel based on the life of Henry James

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

(no time for) reflection

mirror sky
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I don't mean that this is no time for reflection. Rather I mean that I have no time for reflection lately. My days are scheduled thoroughly. Wednesday I canceled my classes so that I could have a day to do some composing stuff and organizing that I had neglected for lack of time. I am happy with all my current obligations, but wish that I had my mornings back. Because I teach three mornings a week this year, I lose some of my most precious time. So I have taken to waking up at 530, to give me two good hours before I have to go direct my energies externally.

One nice thing: this morning I was thinking back on my life and the various things I have done, and I made one really positive conclusion. I have done well in all the major efforts I've made in my life. In my music, my past swimming career, my studies, my teaching; I've been successful on an objective level. Because I was thinking of how it would be to be a person who wasn't good at anything. My colleagues and I were discussing how some people just can't seem to find something that they are good at, and how frustrating it must be. And I realized that that has not been the case with me, and how lucky I am for that (and also how deeply I understand what hard work is).

What I am still lacking though is the confidence of having been successful on a subjective level, as in my own perspective. I still wish I were better. I wish I were a better artist, a better pianist, a better teacher, better organized in my life, better at my relationships. But I have the objective view to console me. I don't know about the relationship part, though. That is the toughest of all...