jupe copes


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On Saturday I felt a certain “blahness” all day. Eileen got up and immediately proposed shopping for an overcoat for me in downtown Holland. I  need a new overcoat since my old one from the thrift store defies attempts to keep the lining in it and is wearing out at the sleeves. So after breakfast we went to the library and then downtown. We also stopped by Evergreen Commons to check in.  In order to cover our trips Medicare insists that we check in twice  month. That’s all we’ve been doing lately, but both of us would like to get back to exercising regularly.

We wandered around in downtown Holland looking for a full length coat for me. No luck. It appears they are a bit out of fashion now. We came home and I ordered another one online. Eileen had ordered one for me about a week or so ago but it was too small.  I noticed that several of the online purchasers said that they were satisfied with their coats but that ordering online took several tries to get one that fit. Since we can drop them off at Kohl’s (the store we are ordering from online) we decided that was the way to go.

By the time I got to the organ I was exhausted. Unfortunately this was one of those rare times when music did not revive my soul. I played some Bach, Scheidt and some French classical composers. Finally I gave up and went home.

Sunday was a little better. Eileen had a hard time sitting in church. She was in tears at the peace and left for a bit and then came back. I suspect Rev Jen’s sermon affected her since Jen alluded to the fact that we never know what’s going on in other people’s lives. I liked the image she used: “In some families there is an earthquake going through the living room.” Nice. But possibly disturbing to my lovely wife.

Many people at church  told me they were rooting for me. One woman called out “I love you” as I passed her. There is only one response. I told her I loved her too and stopped and chatted a bit with her. People’s anxiety is a bit on the high side (understandably). I try to joke a bit to ease the tension. When I told the “I love you” woman that I would post updates on Facebook she said that meant that she and others wouldn’t have to bother me by asking. I told her I liked the asking, I liked the attention. She laughed.

There are others who are going through stuff in their private lives at church. During the homily I found a place to sit next to someone. As I sat, she thanked me for sitting with her. She wept through Jen’s sermon as well. She asked if she could drop by the house later and I said, “Of course.” This morning I found a gift bag from her and her husband on my door knob with a note about my illness.

One man at the coffee hour after church grabbed my arm and told me he hoped I was “taking care of this.” I assured him i was. Often at church I will find that people need to say a word or two to me after the service. I try to be visible for this but not hang around too long for the usual suspects. A couple of choir members were unhappy that there was so much noise during the prelude and postlude played by the violin, cello, and organ. I said that if they don’t quiet for Bach they’re not going to get quiet.

When people complain about this I try to point out several mitigating factors. The first is usually the changing theology around the gathering moment of the Eucharist. My two choir members said that it was a moment for spiritual reflection and preparation for prayer. They both know that I have said that it is a moment for connecting with others and that when the noise is loud, it’s sometimes a good thing.

Secondly I try to mention that there is very little live music in people’s lives these days. Most people listen to a lot of recorded music and tend to treat it as a commodity not something another person is doing in their presence.

These comments rarely help but I make them anyway.

Eileen was still pretty upset on our walk home. I managed to distract her a bit with sitting and watching “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

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I’m disappointed that this movie about the admirable Fred Rogers doesn’t mention John Costa, his pianist who died in 1996. I remember watching this show with my son when he was a child. I always looked forward to the piano improv especially over the closing credits.

This is a bit of a long post today but I had to catch up since I haven’t been writing the last couple of days. Tomorrow maybe I’ll talk about some of the new books I have been reading.

I am feeling fine. No symptoms other than the lingering rash which doesn’t itch so much as make me worry that it’s part of the cancer. Today my spirits are edging back into unreasonable optimism. This is a benefit of being a person of wide mood swings.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my visit with Dr. Birky my therapist went well on Friday. Also the young trumpet player I work with has actually been practicing and made it through much of the first movement of Hadyn’s trumpet concerto with me. Good stuff.

friday morning…. nothing to report yet about surgery


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It’s a little after 8 AM on Friday morning. I didn’t post here yesterday. I was very exhausted from Wednesday and spent most of the day just getting the stuff done that needed to be done like rehearsals.

Eileen’s still in bed. The workers are pounding away (and singing) replacing doors in the back of our house. It looks like the interior trim is not part of the work they do so when they are finished we will still have to have this done. Eileen is still thinking of having the kitchen remodeled so the trim could easily be part of that.

I have the cat sequestered in the master bedroom downstairs complete with litter and food. He is unable to resist supervising the workers.

Today I see my shrink and probably rehearse with the young trumpet player from church.

Yesterday I spent time with Brahms on the piano.

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He wasn’t my first choice but I seem to have left favorite Debussy collection at work.

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My piano trio prepared a playlist for our appearance at the nursing home next Tuesday. I broke my cellist’s A string helping her tune it up. She has wrist issues and is unable to firmly place the peg deeply in the slot to keep it from slipping. This is the third A string she has broken in a week.  I hadn’t tuned it up very high. It looks like a defective string. At any rate, she had an extra and we put that one on successfully.

I decided to play two of the movements from the Handel organ concerto we have been performing down an octave on the piano. This was surprisingly effective. Dawn the cellist remarked that it sounded like it had been written for the piano.

A couple Christmases ago I gave Dawn and Amy copies of The Real Book. We broke them out in preparation for our nursing home gig and worked out arrangements of about five tunes to go with our Bach and Handel.

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I finished Greenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics this morning. He knows a ton about Shakespeare (He edited the Norton Shakespeare). Excellent read. He obviously has an eye on Trump but doesn’t mention him by name once. Very clever.