Monday, August 25, 2008

KlezKanadia 2008

I never could have imagined, in my wildest dreams, what it would be like.
Even now, standing in front of my computer - coffee brewing, things to do - I am brought to tears.

What was more important?

Being surrounded by music (and not just any music, the music of my celestial body) - walking through the camp there was a new song every twenty feet, there were performances all day and every night (and not just any performances, but the best klezmer I'd ever seen or heard - maybe because I would stand directly behind players), the singing, the energy? Oy.


Being surrounded by Jews (and other sympaticos) - dinner conversations that ended with "well, aren't we all pretty much socialists?"; the Conservative sax player who is emailing me a list of shuls most accepting to non-traditional families in the DC area; the Backward March and the Singing Table, a four hour, candle-lit, pounding, dancing Shabbas evening of Hasidic Niguns?

I know my playing improved significantly, but its more that I learned how to learn a song, how to play through, that playing with feeling is more important than playing all the notes right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Imagine this...

A small performance space, people just keep showing up with instruments. Sure, there are chairs, but join the circle of people wailing, squeezing, hammering, what have you. There are thirty or more - playing the old favorites until midnight. There's a famous family band from Ukraine...they lead and point out solists, rhythms, etc. It just gets louder and louder. Shaun says: "There'll be a lot more of this, but next time with alcohol."

My goal is to learn to play - just a few chords, and keep up. Oh, to be part of the tight-packed jam.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

KlezKanada 2008: 8/18-8/24

I've never liked camp.
So why, then am I subjecting myself to a weeks worth of trapped in the Laurentian Mountains? Four to a cabin, no cell and no wireless?

This is why:

This is why:

Klezmer is what my brain sings to itself. It sounds like me, I sound like it. Not so much the freneticism of the Bulgars, the Freylekhs, but the surging wail of a Cantorial riff. I'm going not because I'm any good or expecting to be any good, but because I'm searching always for something that sounds like home. I stumble forward hopefully, though in my heart, I know it's only an echo.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh, my sweet little hopper...

Mr. Tinyman is gone.

I know what you're thinking:
that he was 11,
that he was way, way, way too old for such a tiny and angry little bunny,
that his little body just gave up.

But it's not like that at all.

For such a domesticated, housebound little rabbit - one who'd been eating avocado off my teaspoon just that morning - he died a wild and profound death.

He was in the little grazing pen we made for him, then he was gone. I've left him out to nibble the grasses many, many times over the five years we've lived here. I try to take him in as it gets dark, mostly because that's when the mosquitos get bad.

We went out and got dessert, when we got home I asked Alexis to go get him. But all that was left was a bloodied leaf and a few wisps of his downy under-fur.

The mercy is, owls kill quickly.

Cats and other predators make a huge screaming kafuffle. There would have been blood and fur everywhere, and Kor's last moments would have been desperate ones.

Instead, death came in quickly on silent wings. It took him and they sailed together into the warm night. Would that death comes for all of us that way.

We had been together for ten years, a third of my life.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In the year 2013...

I just finished my second Zingerman's visioning workshop. The first one was pretty much wildly successful - I did a five-year increment, and the last five years have been basically the best of my life. The way you do it is to transport yourself some time into the future - five years is usually good. Close your eyes and open them into that future life - you are happy and successful. The point of this exercise is to stop reacting to pain, stop focusing your energy on avoiding what hurts --instead move towards creating a new potential. Now write what it looks like.

That vision should be...
Exciting (it should excite you)
Strategically Sound (you should be able to acheive it)
Documented (you have to record it)
Shared (speak it, write it, act it)

Last time I did a vision, I kept it in my calendar for a while, and then in a drawer. I didn't really share it with anybody, but even from the back of the drawer, it changed my life.

This time, I'm trying something different - I'm sharing it for reelz. This means I'm stepping up to claim what I want. Not in a selfish or self-centered way, but that I'm invested enough in my vision to say it out loud.

And I'm putting it here. This blog is where I put stuff that I don't want to lose, and I don't want to lose this vision.

It is June 18th, 2013. I am 39 this year, Alexis is 38. We have two kids, aged 2 and 4. We live just outside Washington, DC, but inside the beltway. We live in a huge, old house that's been subdivided into apartments - we live upstairs, and some combenation of loved ones lives downstairs or floats in and out. Our apartment is sunny and medium-to-small , with a second floor that we carved out of the attic. We have a big deck, and a huge, fenced-in lawn where all the family dogs romp.

All of our family live within a short drive, some even in the same neighborhood. We get together a lot for planned and impromptu family meals, visits, errands, and fun stuff.

Alexis and I work from home most of the time, but I am also frequently traveling. I work for a large, international, non-governmental organization, and I focus on socially regulated scarce resource systems. My work is split between social research and outcome modeling, writing/presenting, and feet-on-the-ground development work. I am often in NYC, and often traveling nationally and internationally. I feel so driven by my work, the energy of what I do impells me - I feel such strong urgency and purpose without being laid low by despair. Yes, things are bad and getting worse, but we have plans to keep our family safe and independent, and are working to make the world better for all families.

We have a weekend farm, it takes less than two hours to get there by car, but is hidden and extremely rural. We go there almost every weekend, and have parties and large gatherings. We plan to move there full time, eventually.

My life is orderly. I get up very early, I have quiet and still time, and then I work. By the time the day is getting active, I have put in hours of work. I get lots of sleep.

I'm in a klezmer troupe. In playing and dancing, I've found ecstatic ritual.