Bought a Baroque flute

Aulos Baroque flute A440

I got a Baroque flute today. The one I got was the plastic Aulos, since it is by far less expensive than any wooden one, and recommended by a number of people I know. Also, it was the A440-tuned one, rather than the A415-tuned one, since I want to be able to play it with people on modern instruments.

Why did I suddenly get this instrument, when less than two weeks ago, when discussing my recent return to the modern flute, I explained all the reasons I didn’t expect to try Baroque flute anytime soon?

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Remembering Esther Allen (1918-2011)

Today, Abby forwarded me an email she just got about a tribute to Esther Allen, to be held this Thursday (December 1) at the Wissahickon Nature Club. Esther died in June at the age of 93. I only met her once: back in April, Abby and I went on a Raccoon Creek State Park wildflower walk on a beautifully clear spring day. But even just being around her for a couple of hours, I found her an inspiration!

Esther Allen examining trillium

I didn’t even know who she was that April morning. I looked her up the day after the walk. What was special about her?

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Apologies for the technical glitch

My apologies for the technical glitch I introduced eight days ago that resulted in my web site’s entire sidebar being blank! For a moment I felt angry and sad that for eight days any visitors to my site saw a strangely incomplete site, and nobody informed me, but mistakes happen. My regular readers who use my RSS feed never saw the glitch. I mistakenly thought that by using an HTML comment in a Markdown source file, all the right things would happen, but it turns out that the blog software I use, Octopress, extracted the begin-comment into the blog’s main index page but not the end-comment, so that, of course, thanks to the leniency of HTML parsing, the entire rest of the HTML was treated as a comment. Read On →

Thankful for the free-range orange-yolked eggs

Welcome back from the Thanksgiving long weekend! Abby and I had a wonderful time with friends and also with seeing both my parents and her parents. I enjoyed my extended Digital Sabbath but here I am again.

As we do when we happen to be in the vicinity, we loaded up some cartons of free-range eggs from Stoney Lane Farm. I am always grateful for the opportunity to eat these local eggs, and grateful for the hens who run around and lay these eggs.

Chickens at Stoney Lane Farm

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Happy Thanksgiving and a call to action

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Please take time out to give thanks today, whether out loud or silently.

Yesterday I wrote about how every day is Thanksgiving. At the end of the post, I wondered about further improving my gratitude practice. I woke up today with a burning desire to take action. I’d like to know what you think of my specific ideas.

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Every day is Thanksgiving

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the American holiday that is so unfortunate for turkeys. Thanksgiving is a traditional time for pausing and giving thanks for all that we are grateful for.

I briefly considered creating a little list of some of my reasons for thanks and posting the list here. I changed my mind after realizing that for every item I put on the list, I would be omitting a thousand other items and implicitly suggesting they were less important. Therefore, I decided to not have a list at all.

Instead, let me advocate making every day Thanksgiving.

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James Galway made me hate flute, but Emmanuel Pahud made me love it

So it’s been less than two weeks since I started playing flute again. One thing I forgot to mention is that James Galway made me hate flute for decades. The bottom line is that I never liked Galway’s distinctive vibrato and sound. Unfortunately, for some reason, I kept on seeing him on TV and hearing him on the radio, and so he sort of represented to me “flute”. (Update of 2013-08-23) I have periodically received comments from people very unhappy with my dislike of the playing of James Galway. Read On →

The beautiful, melancholy Indian Summer of Chet Baker

For some reason, today I felt like listening (for the hundredth time?) to the ballad “Indian Summer” as performed by the tragically self-destructive jazz trumpet player (and vocalist) Chet Baker. I have been obsessed with this beautiful performance since the day I first heard it on the radio maybe fifteen years ago while driving. Eventually I got hold of a CD including the track. Thanks to YouTube, you can listen to the five-minute thing of beauty here: Read On →

I want to sing

Periodically through my life, I have secretly wanted to sing. By that, I mean, really sing, as in not holding back, and doing it in the presence of other people, and longer than just a few seconds.

The funny thing is, when I was a child, I un-self-consciously sang all the time. I remember singing when I was three years old, singing along to TV commercials and sing-along books. My parents sang to me. That was my first experience of music. The famous Julie Andrews movie “The Sound of Music” has always been special to me (despite encountering a surprising amount of mockery of it later in life) because when I was three, and my parents watched in TV, they sang along and I did too, do-re-mi. I was so captivated that I even recorded it off the TV on audio cassette at that early age (and still have it, but it’s been years since it was playable).

So what happened? Why did I stop singing with other people around? Why did I even start feeling embarrassed singing just to myself? And what now?

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Flute versus recorder: why do I play both?

A week ago, I started playing the flute again after decades.

Since I started playing recorder in February, and made it my main instrument, I am torn by the fact that I have been playing it every other day now rather than every day, and playing flute every other day. It feels weird dividing my attention in this way.

I suppose it’s time to talk more about why I started playing recorder in the first place, and why I am back to flute now (in addition).

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