Friday, December 24, 2010

ChristmasCard

I remember exactly when I encountered this poem but won't relate the circumstances here because they really don't matter. What matters is the beauty of it, whether one believes or not. Sometimes belief--or lack of it--is best suspended at times and this may be one of those times: stoned out of my mind with jet lag after flying 16 hours east, awake way too early and looking forward to flying up to a White Christmas in Wisconsin with Erin and her family, while at the same time wishing I could also be with my daughters, son-in-law and grandsons.

***

Apparently there is/was an old English/Celtic/Anglo belief that on Christmas Eve at midnight all the animals in all stables and mangers throughout the world get on their knees in devotion to commemorate the birth of the Christ child. Who knows? Could be . . .

You will have to look up 'barton' and 'coomb,' but otherwise the piece speaks clearly beautifully to all of us, even those among us who doubt or don't believe at all.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
'Now they are all on their knees,'
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
'Come; see the oxen kneel,

'In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,'
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

--Thomas Hardy






Monday, December 13, 2010

Taipei

Am having an absolutely marvelous time here in Taipei with a superb chorus, the Formosa Singers. Their conductor, Julian Su, did a stunning job of preparation prior to my arrival, leaving only some Poulenc notes to fix and some harmonic minor seconds and major sevenths to get in tune. All the rest has been fun, though I still sweat. Have had three very productive three-hour (!) rehearsals with them, working primarily on phrase, musicality, drama, and English diction, of course. Four more rehearsals to go, then the two performances, the second of which is in the National Concert Hall, where I performed with the USC Chamber Choir in 2006 on our tour of East Asia. That was a mountain top experience and I am looking forward to another one in that wonderful hall.

The singers and accompanist/translator are great, the hotel is first-class (Ritz Landis), the food is fun, and all seem to be enjoying my work. There's even a big concert publicity poster of me in my hotel lobby, just to the right of the Christmas tree. I'm famous again.

They only put up the tree yesterday and I heard Christmas carols (ala quasi-techno-Euro-funk) in the dining room just this morning, so they don't work it to death here like they do in the US. Then, too, most of these people are doomed, godless Buddhists, so what do they care? Only three of the 32-member chorus are Christians. What a relief! Such a delightful contrast compared to the sanctimony of the US and even Korea. I know, I know: I'll burn in hell.

Julia Tai's mom and dad have already taken me out to dinner twice, and I'll have lunch with dad again on Friday. They have been really sweet to me. I guess they think I did OK with Julia during her master's degree work at USC.

Looking forward to the big concert on the 21st (winter solstice), then fly home to Bama, pay bills and repack, and fly up to Green Bay on Christmas day, joining up with Sam, Erin and her family.

Glad to be here; glad to have music in my life; glad that I'm still highly potent in front of a really good ensemble; glad to have so much to look forward to.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rolf . . .

. . . died today of pneumonia in Stockton, California at 9:15 PST. He was my brother and he was 62. He had been hospitalized with mental illness--undifferentiated schizophrenia--since he was 16. Most who read this are unaware that I even had a brother. It wasn't that I was embarrassed or ashamed, far from it. It was simply very sad to talk about him at all, even sadder to visit him.

He was born of a manic-depressive/schizophrenic mother who only survived and managed to care for herself until her death thanks to the discovery of lithium. Most of her illness got passed on to him, I guess. In addition, he was born with a large birthmark on his upper left cheek that was clumsily removed while a patient at the University of Minnesota during the second time my Mom was hospitalized at the mental facility in Moose Lake. It left a large scar. As if that weren't enough, he was also born with a paralyzed seventh facial nerve, a condition that forced him to smile only on the right side of his face because the left side wouldn't move. So here's a boy with a scar and a strange smile whose brother and mom were gone (I left them when I was 13 and he was 8, not long before Mom got removed to the Ha-Ha Hotel again) and who'd been banged from pillar to post.

You'd go nuts, too. If you weren't already, that is.

He came to live with me, my dad and my stepmother in California when he was 10, which was immediately after the U of M incarceration. This was after a series of foster homes while my mom was at Moose Lake. He never really adapted out west, and though quite smart became more and more inward over the next 6 years, said crazy things, laughed at all the wrong times and at all the wrong things.

And so on.

I'm not going to give any more history here. He will be cremated in Stockton, and his ashes sent to Minnesota for interment next to his mother, grandparents and an uncle. There won't be an epitaph on his marker other than to say that he was the son of Hazel Dehning. What else should be on it but won't be?

Here, I'll tell you:

He Never Had a Chance.
Or maybe even, in the language I don't think he even knew I could speak,

Pace, Fratello; Finalmente, Pace a Te.


Friday, October 29, 2010

October

Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Had a great time working with ca. 60+ selected high school kids from five schools for 2.5 days up in the glorious fall weather of the UP. We were in a great camp right on Big Bay of Lake Superior. We did only five pieces but did them well in Northern Michigan University's wonderful new recital hall. It was great to see the organizer of the event, Sharon Green, who was in the Arts Chorale there during my first year of collegiate teaching up there in Marquette, where I went exactly forty years ago to begin my career. Dang, time flies! Also saw Katie Gravelle and Kathy Nyquist, both of whom were also in the Arts Chorale during my brief two years in that northern paradise (of sorts). And as if that weren't enough, I had dinner with about nine of the original Marquette Choral Society that I and about a dozen community folks up there began in 1971 and that is still going and still about 100 strong. Talk about memories! I thought they and I would all be dead by now!

Rob Istad in Huntsville: Great to see him work with Erin's two groups on great music and to hear his superb presentation on the interpretation of Romantic music. He is bright, musical, hardworking, organized, talented, and a real charmer. He's also been Erin's best friend since they terrorized the choral department at USC during their years in graduate school. They're still unstoppable, and Erin's students loved hearing the two of them reminisce about foreign tours and mountain retreats over a table crowded with food, bourbon and beer at Chili's. As their primary professor and conductor in grad school, I'm very proud of both of them as people and professionals. You will continue to hear more of them as time goes by, and not just from me.

'Dehning Does It Again:' Yup. Another screed about my favorite professional topic, this time in the Letters to the Editor section of November's Choral Journal, which has been out for a couple of weeks. Been getting approving plaudits (is that redundant?) about it via email, which is nice of course. Just wonder what my colleagues who may disapprove might have to say. Then again, maybe I don't really wanna know. If you want to see it and don't get the magazine, email me and I can send it to you. It's really too long to post here and most of the folks who might read this thing probably really don't give a rip, anyway.

So. An enjoyable month, professionally. Now back to college football . . .

Friday, September 3, 2010

NewYearsEve IV

I watched my recording of last night's USC/Hawaii game today and tonight will watch Arizona/Toledo--always a sucker for the Pac-10 and remember when it was the Pac-8 (all West Coast Schools). Now it is the Pac-12. Sigh. The only constant is change, or as Heraclitus said, 'all is flux.' (Neither 'Heraclitus' nor 'flux' is dirty, by the way, despite what Sarah Palin or any of her fans might think, should any of them read this).

Tomorrow's the annual Big Day, though--New Years Day for us academic types: the start of another college football season. This year for the first time I actually ordered ESPN Game Plan so that I can receive any of the Pac-12 broadcasts that aren't shown down here in the Deep, Dark South. UCLA/Kansas State, for example, will be replaced tomorrow by Kentucky/Louisville down here. I plan to pay for the service out of my Social Security check, which would REALLY piss off SP and her fans (!).

I've been addicted to college football since my senior year in high school (1959), when my buddy Dennis Butler and I were recruited for the band programs at both USC and UCLA, superb players that we were (!!). USC took us to their Washington game (ho-hum), but UCLA took us to their USC game. USC was unbeaten and ranked third but UCLA upset them 10-7 still running their single-wing offense (!!!).

Both of us thus went to UCLA for not-the-best of reasons, but there you are. The Y chromosome struck again and would strike many more times in the future, at least in my case. I'll let Dennis speak for himself. I rooted for UCLA against USC my entire life until Pete Carroll came, after which I switched. Don't know what I'll do now, really. Pete was the ultimate college coach and neither Lane Kiffen nor Rick Neuheisel is. We'll see, I guess.

Dennis is the one I bought the Unit from, by the way, the one you see below. He never rooted for USC and never will.

OK: U-C-L-A, Fight, Fight, Fight (!!!!); Fight On, Trojans, Fight On(!!!!!). And while we're at it-- I've always loved Cal and their wonderful old stadium in beautiful Strawberry Canyon since I first played there in the UCLA Marching Band in 1960 (our flight up there was my first time in a plane): Go, Bears (!!!!!!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unit


After instructional set-up at my buddy's in Costa Mesa . . .


. . . first outing in Kings Canyon NP (that's a bear box Erin is hiding behind) . . . note slide-out diner . . .


. . . slumber party in Tahoe: Sam and Beck (grandson #2) . . .

. . . note fold-out galley . . .

. . . galley left, diner right, breakfast cook center in the coolest Gear Queer shirt ever . . .

. . . underway near Mt. Shasta, NorCal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Birthday

My first birthday present today to myself was to re-read all of my Politics posts and congratulate myself on a bunch of prescient (note the dates), cogently written, insightful, beautifully formed little essays. Dang, they're good. I kid you not. Go ahead, read 'em if you haven't already, you'll see what I mean; there are only eleven of them. You don't have to agree, simply admire. Time or Newsweek really ought to use me as a contract consultant, Don't you think?

Now that the Leo-nine narcissism is out of the way, the bad news is that I'm 68. The good news is that I may become 69 in a year. My brain doesn't feel that old but my bod increasingly does; I won't list my physical afflictions because no one really wants to hear about them, including my doctor. It's enough to say that I do my utmost to just keep moving, even though my 'wheels' seem to be progressively morphing from round to square. Or maybe oblong is more accurate. Sigh. It could be worse. (It can always be worse).

My second BD present to myself will be a dinner this evening at our best local Dago restaurant, Mezza Luna (yeah, the same chain where OJ and Nicole were last seen fighting). You used to could get Gulf oysters for half price (.50) during Happy Hour but no longer. Them days is over. Nowadays they get most of them off the coast of North Carolina. I like them better than Gulf oysters, actually, but they cost more. But after the first of two martinis, the taste doesn't really matter. After the second martini, I don't really care--on to the entree.

I resigned from my church job a few days ago. I gave it a good go for a season, but I'm afraid that kind of work just isn't for me anymore. There were good reasons I left that kind of work in 1985 and apparently those reasons haven't gone away in the interim. I will miss those few wonderful people, though, a few of whom I came to really love in my short time with them. My teacher Jim Vail just took a new church position not terribly long after resigning from the one he had held for forty years. He's 86, I think. Some people really do love it and I'm glad for him and his new church home.
***
I'm a lucky man as I begin my 69th year of adhering to the planet: families old and new that love me, two fine grandsons, a good woman, a good dog, enough money left after the Bush Debacle to live decently and travel a bit for a few more years, a fairly busy lineup of professional engagements to keep me both interested and involved, including a Christmas concert with a superb choir on Taiwan come December.

And I do love the slower pace of retirement; I am stunned by what I used to pack into a day for thirty-seven years.

Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

TravelSummer

It was great to be back in Italy after twenty years; a gorgeous country with wonderful people. The national party that went on after Milan beat Munich for the European Cup (for the first time in 40 years) was not to be believed; we stayed with it until about 1:30 AM and then finally went to bed. It was also fun to speak that language again; it came back faster than I had imagined it would. Erin's tour was a smashing success, particularly for all of those Bama kids, many of whom had never been out of Bama, a few of whom had never been on a plane. And they performed an extremely difficult repertoire beautifully. Oh, and Patti and Gene Colwitz had a blast--they were the stars of the trip, especially on the bus.
***
And I was back in Bulgaria for the first time since 1999, but working and earning a few bucks this time at a choral/orchestral workshop. The six conductors worked with two teachers for two weeks on the Mozart Requiem and a Sinfonia Concertante, performing both in a final concert. They had a fine professional orchestra and a beautifully trained Bulgarian choir to work with, and I got to know Danail Rachev, who is the new conductor of the Eugene, OR Symphony. He and I worked together well with the six conductors. While everybody there (especially the young) now seems to speak a bit of English (it wasn't that way in '99), the second language was German in the resort village where we stayed, so I had no problems whatever with my second language, only the boorish tourists who spoke it--Germans have replaced us as the most despised, arrogant tourists around. With good reason. Wilkommen an unser Welt, Freunde. The hotel, food and folk dancing were great, by the way; Eastern Europe is a place all its own, especially around the Black Sea.
***
Then a month of camping in our 2004 Fleetwood Bayside Elite pop-up camp trailer with hot and cold running water, slide out diner, fold out galley, and heater that came on automatically when the temp went below 50F several times. We picked it up at my buddy's in Costa Mesa and drove to Kings Canyon NP. After that, Patti and Gene then joined us (two full king size beds) in Yosemite NP, Jedediah Smith SP, and Tahoe (Sugar Pine Point SP), where we all camped with Libby, Lee and the Boys, celebrating birthdays of the Boys (late), Lee, Libby, and me (early). It was a fantastic time and the best birthday present imaginable--we all just wished Meg could have been there.

Then to Glacier NP, where these pics were shot (the second entitled 'Man, Dog, Fire.' Grunt). I'd never been there and I'm delighted we went: spectacular beauty, Sam learned to swim in Lake MacDonald, Erin and I did a bit of minor whitewater rafting (nine in the raft, only I got wet), historic, picturesque lodges.

And finally, a week at the 11-acre Colwitz Estate in Wisconsin that is Valhalla to Sam: he rolls in the acres of grass, runs in the oat field with only his tail visible, poops where he wants, swims in The Lake That Gene Dug, and runs free without leash at all times. It was a fitting reward for the superb traveler and camper that he was; he's now a confirmed Western Mountain Dog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

RightStuff

Went to hear Tom Wolfe at the UAH campus today (he's the commencement speaker tomorrow). Was thrilled: he's as brilliant as he seems to be in his books, all of which I love. Despite being a conservative and a supporter of Dubya, I like him anyway. But then, he's a millionaire several times over; of course he supported Dubya. Unlike Dubya, though, he actually learned something at Yale.
***
Speaking of millionaires, I'm a fan of a podcast called Blast the Right, run by a guy named Jack Clark. Words of wisdom and truth from him right here now that distills accurately what RightWing politicians are and do; a filter through which to run everything you hear from them:

"Everything the right-wing does is designed to accomplish one of two things: either (a) transfer wealth from everyone else to the already rich, or (b) distract everyone else from the fact that (a) is occurring."

God, that's good. And true. Just watch and listen to everything they support and everything they oppose. Don't pay any attention to their blather; keep the above italics in mind and you'll read them correctly.
***
We leave Sunday for Italy, where Erin works for two weeks and I do serious research on Italian food (I think this time osso bucco and gorgonzola); then to Bulgaria, where I work for two weeks and Erin lazes about on a Black Sea beach near Varna doing serious research on suntan lotion and Bulgarian booze. Things could sure be worse . . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ThreeDot . . .

I've been hearing via email and word of mouth from folks near and far recently that some out there actually read this stuff and occasionally enjoy it. Since I don't do Facebook, this is the only way anyone can find out what I'm thinking or if I'm thinking at all, and I didn't realize so many kept in touch this way because so few comment . . . Really funny that McCain promises no cooperation with the Democrats for the rest of the year; as if there was any cooperation from the Republicans during all of last year--you can't mourn for what you never had, you doddering PalinPanderer. Now what Obama should do is dig up Tiger's most graphic description of what Tiger wanted to do to one of his mistresses--that should be exactly his description of what he's gonna do to the Republicans--and then 'ram' some more stuff 'down their throats:' financial reform, immigration reform, cap and trade, climate change legislation, bring the Boys and Girls home. Ram away, Mr. Obama, and if they don't like that you're doing what you were elected by most of us to do--with or without them--tell 'em they can just kiss your black a** . . . I'm so happy for my daughters and grandsons that he found a pair with Pelosi's help, and that the RightWing is hysterically impotent; impotent except for the violence into which HanBeckBaugh goad their Crazies, who then accommodate them . . . Had fun with Erin's choruses (community and school) last week while she was in Boston working at Mt. Holyoke and then working late on the UAH musical--I worked with all three of them and it was fun to be back in the saddle again for awhile, though I'm glad I could get back off the horse and retire to the ranch house . . . Spring done come to Bama; lawns will be green again soon--the fields and hills already are; this is the nicest time of year 'round these here parts . . . Have taken up hatha yoga three times a week per the Doc's advice and dropped Tai-chi for the time being; still lifting and shooting hoop a couple of times per week . . . Enjoying the heck out of the NCAA Tournament. When are the college presidents gonna figure out that a playoff would be the best possible thing for football, too? . . . Just realized that 'incredible' and 'unbelievable' are synonyms . . . Sam has an ear infection. Again. Goldens are famous for allergies and it's spring, as I said. Sigh . . . The South has so many reversible names: Prescott Parker; Parker Griffith; Tyler Taylor; Foster Bailey . . . Incredibly gratifying to hear from former students back in LA who still remember me and actually miss me; and I even hear occasionally from former UOP students, a few of whom manage to remember me fondly--they're too old to miss me . . . Gonna make a late, unhealthy breakfast now of sausage, eggs and toast: yum, then do a bunch of stretching: groan--right hamstring, quads and both hip flexors are really tight . . . Lots of travel coming up soon: Italy with Erin's kids; Bulgaria for a conducting masterclass; a western camping trip with the new Unit . . . Miguel Felipe (or is it Felipe Miguel?) in town from Boston returning Erin's favor; he's a talented, funny guy, lots of fun to be with, talking shop and professional smut . . . Maundy Thursday service tonight with the Episcopalians, replete with foot-washing: DoubleGroan. Love the people in that choir, though . . . Hope y'all have a resurrection Come Sunday . . . No Foolin' . . .

Friday, March 5, 2010

Exceptional

On Erin's Facebook this morning was a post from a local theatre star (don't know what his day job is): "Heard on Neal Boortz this morning: 'What if Americans spent less time expecting things and more time being exceptional?'"

First thing you need to know is that that latter word is a RightWing buzzword meaning that Amurrca deserves to do anything it wants because it has the best of everything in the world and never, ever makes mistakes. HateRadio/TV frequently blasts Obama thusly: "He doesn't believe in Amurrcan exceptionalism!!" It's in the DailyMemo from the RNC and Roger Ailes to FauxNews (Fair, Balanced and Blond), for example.

Second thing you need to know is that Neal Boortz kicks off the local HateRadio lineup here in Huntsville starting at 1000 AM. He is followed by Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and then a guy at night whose name is something like Schnitts. That's fifteen hours daily of vile, poisonous hate directed primarily at Obama, who is referred to as jerk, coward, man-child, idiot, fool, arrogant, narcissistic, and other euphemistic epithets that are code for uppity you-know-what. They hate him, of course, because he is so damned smart, cool-under fire, has utter control of issues and facts, tells the truth, can speak off the cuff without teleprompter, monitor or even notes (without repeating himself), and stops bullshit in its tracks. I have problems with his leadership so far, but that's because I'm more liberal than most, and would love to have seen him give those Dems several whacks upside the head, √°la Johnson, and git 'er done. I think he's far too idealistic for his own good and underestimates Republican hatred for--and envy of--him. ('Bipartisan,' my ass, sir. You should have given up on those bozos long ago, kicked Democratic butt, and dragged this benighted, stupid society into the Land of Reason).

***
Enough prologue. To Erin's correspondent:

We are exceptional, dude, ipso facto. We don't have to spend any time trying to be. Among the most advanced societies in the world (I speak primarily of most of Western Europe and much of East Asia), we are utterly exceptional. Let me count the ways in which we lead:
  • We are the most obese, the laziest thus least fit, the dumbest (much of the reason for this is our rate of evangelical church attendance) , the sickest because of lack of decent health care, the least informed (see 'dumbest' and watch ClusterFox for ten minutes), and we have the smuggest, most uncaring, most sanctimonious, least tolerant Christians in the entire world; economically, we are shameless whores to big corporations and field more monopolies than 'socialist' countries (you think our health care industry wants 'free market principles?' Uh-uh).
  • We have far less public transport than other countries and the worst road conditions (I've driven/ridden on them all), we use more fossil fuels and eat more meat, we pollute more than anyone except the emerging giant of China, we are the most in debt to other countries--mostly to China, and we have the largest, most shameful financial gap between Haves and Have-Nots in the civilized world; we also have the least knowledge of--not to mention sense of--history (for most of us, history extends only to last Tuesday);
  • We make the worst cars, following a half-century head start on the rest of the world, recent Toyota problems notwithstanding, and our government bodies have the most disdain for intellectuals, artists, and the highly educated than any since those of Stalin and Pol Pot. Other than bad cars, by the way, we don't make anything else anymore, including sense;
  • Finally, we are approaching Italy in competition for the Lamest, Least Effective, Most Venal Government. And we also win the prize worldwide for Male Politicians with the Neatest Hair (many look like televangelists or Southern Baptist ministers, especially the Republicans), and we have already won the prize several times for Proudly Stupidest Person Ever Elected President.
There! See how Exceptional we are?! And without even trying! I am so proud of my country! Proud enough, at least, to have continued to try to help improve it my entire life. But I think I may join Kurt Vonnegut, who gave up trying at the end of his life. After reading the news daily, I am coming to that place, too. More and more, I find myself agreeing with Bill Maher, who has maintained our cultural stupidity for some time now, especially after witnessing the Palin/TeaBag phenomenon. His latest, after watching Republicans stall at the HC Summit, and seeing poll numbers about the health bill?

'This country sucks.'

Yeah, Bill, at times it do. Exceptionally so.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shooting

Boy, are we famous!

And for all the right things! Not only are we the harbor that welcomed Werner von Braun and his Rocket Boys (this is a good thing); not only are we the place where Sean Hannity started his career for 18k/year on our local HateRadio station (this is a bad thing); but we are now also the home of a disgruntled professor who didn't get tenure and decided to solve her problems with a semi-automatic bequeathed to her by our Second Amendment!

And a number of students felt that things would be better if they were allowed to carry their registered guns on campus! Great idea!

And it happened in the Richard Shelby Center! Yep, he who is the Prince of Pork, yet decries all pork (but only if initiated by Democrats), and who held up the appointments of 70 people because he wanted more Bama pork! Wow! Am I ever proud of our Senators! And Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is another! Another rich, privileged white peckerwood who made good in this state of only 4.5 million benighted, undereducated, repressed people. (BTW, the coach of the Bama football team makes one dollar for every man, woman and child in the state = 4.5 mil/year!)

And they charge the full 8% sales tax on FOOD!! Wow! Ain't that progressive?!?!

What a state!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

K-Girls


Last weekend we had a glorious time when Kelley O'Connor and Karen Schrock came to visit us, Kelley from Fresno en route to Birmingham, where she will perform Lieberson's Neruda Songs, and Hong Kong, where she will perform Mahler 3. Karen came in from New York, where she has lived since 2003, studying, working and partying. Both were four-year members of the USC Chamber Choir and both traveled on THREE foreign tours with them. Pic above is from my retirement party in 2007: Karen at your left; Kelley at your right.

Karen now is an editor for Scientific American Mind, the premiere scientific mag in the country. She uses half of her USC double major and all of her NYU masters degree in her work. She is a whiz, writing and editing in the field of neuroscience, including an article about why men fall asleep after sex (I forget the reason; I think I fell asleep immediately after reading it, even without sex).

Kelley is now a citizen of the world; a superb mezzo-soprano in the prime of her career and in demand around the world as a soloist with orchestras and in the occasional opera. While here, she received news that John Adams wants to write an opera for her that will be performed several times here in the States and later around Europe. She is under fine management with IMG (so is Tiger, but that's another story), loves her agent and is busy literally every month of this year. You could look it up: www.kelleyoconnor.com.

The four of us had a great time together, including a Saturday Saturnalia at two of Huntsville's gay bars (don't ask, 'cause we won't tell) that featured the three women drinking ten Manhattans and eating forty pounds of barfood garbage at the first one, then watching drag queens cavort at the second. Oh, and Karen and I played a round of pool, which I won by a single ball.

They are both wonderful people, smart and talented, and are a joy to be around, no matter what we are doing. Sam loved them to death, of course, and they endured his attentions with aplomb.

Can't wait to be together with them again. Y'all are welcome anytime, darlin's.
***
And so would you be welcome. We have room, so y'all come see us now, y' hear?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Roman New Year


Snowing today and the whole dang town is shut down: schools are closed and you can't find milk, bread or eggs in the stores. Buncha peckerwood wusses, lemme tell ya. We're supposed to get about two inches, which is a lot for Bama; people are already planning plots for their snow angels.

Speaking of snow, got back from Green Bay last Sunday eve, where there was plenty of the stuff; Sam loves snow and winter in Wisconsin--he can't get enough of it. So if it accumulates enough today, will take him out and let him roll around in it for one of his snow showers; there won't be enough for him to dig for last summer's detritus or shove his nose into, but he'll enjoy it anyway.
***
Had a great New Year week in Green Bay with the Colwitz family, especially with Patti and Gene and with Bro Andy and his wonderful live-in squeeze, Jennine ('Neenie' to me, 'Neener' to everyone else). Great food, fun taverns, exquisite NYE dinner in the 'Moose Room,' pool at Andy's Packer Bar, champagne and caviar at Midnight (a first for P and G, who were good sports and tried it). Erin and Fam played with the Wii until they were blind and/or staggering. Neenie just giggled and I just read while they played; I'm a lousy digital athlete, Andy is gifted, Erin and Gene are pretty good (sorry, Patti). Erin wants one for here, of course; that'll be the day . . . Picture of the six of us at a local wine bar above (fine company, bad wine to this Californian who has tasted it all in California and France). Ah, and we can't forget litte niece Olivia, who is a sweet little chunker.
***
End of my year tonight with the end of college football, then a long drought until my New Year's Day on 1 September broken only by the country's finest athletic event: the NCAA basketball tournament in March.
***
Back to work now for Erin; back to Husbandry of house, wife, dog, and body for me (stretching, Tai-Chi, weights, and hoops at the Y). Also back to church work, where the organist thinks I was on drugs while choosing Epiphany music: Brahms, Mendelssohn, Handel, Duruflé. Making Coq au Vin tonight from a recipe I got from the owner of the wine bar above. Looks pretty good, too.
***
Happy New Year to you Roman Calendar heathens; hope you Christians had an Epiphany yesterday. Thanks to all who responded to my digital Christmas Card and sent us real ones; love you all. Time for Tai-Chi . . .