A sumptuous musical treat right in my living room
Right now, I’m listening to a Japanese friend practicing with her friend Schubert Serenade, a piano-violin duet. Lovely! Brings back memories of my father singing the lyrics in his rich baritone voice. Though I’ve heard this music practiced for the nth time, I don’t tire of it. I can almost picture the flats and sharps on the music score. But what I particularly appreciate is noting the blossoming of expression in their collaborative musical interpretation. What I look forward to is their playing in full length Elgar’s Salut d’Amour which the two musicians have been learning the past weeks. Since they practice in my living room, I get to be the all-too-willing audience. And as they grow in their familiarity with the piece, I grow in my appreciation of the musicians’ pain (or occasional frustration) as they struggle to perfect a classic meant only to be performed with utmost sensitivity and skill.
I truly enjoy this musical combination. Their first practices were rocky in a way that each played an independent role that didn’t seem to meld. It was like each instrument dominating the other without a united theme. This Lola couldn’t keep her mouth shut. Because I like music of any genre a lot, I can feel the gaps in expected innuendos (and good music is rich in innuendos). So, I gave my unsolicited critique. Now, after many weeks, she and he play together with a deeper perception and understanding of the nuances that evoke feelings for the musical story that flows out of the enchanting melody. I hope that their Salut d’Amour will pan out that way soon. I also suggested “Smoke Gets in Your eyes”, a soulful strain that rides over emotions of love gained and love lost. With a few perfected duets, I think these two musicians should give a concert. I can even offer my living room for the recital, casual but classic, maybe – or what about a soiree for a fancier and sophisticated gathering. They said, no. Hmmm …
Meantime, their music is just for my ears – and I am grateful.
What is it with large, dark rimmed glasses that make one look so scholarly – and handsome! Perhaps, because when I first met my late husband, he was wearing large, dark rimmed glasses. Not that they caused my attraction to him, but they certainly (I admit embarrassingly) added to it. Funny how we remember the flimsy delights of youth.
Well, my 10-year-old grandson just recently acquired a pair of large, dark-rimmed prescription glasses. Of course, my first reaction was, he’s so young for glasses. But seeing him wear them made me suddenly think – wow, he’s looking so smart and handsome, even if he already did without the glasses. A young version of Harry Potter, but definitely, more distinct looking. This Lola is biased.
Wrestling with pain
Dealing with physical pain is most challenging, especially when it inhibits movement. My knees hurt weeks ago, enough to make me cringe at every step or when sitting or standing up. The pain is caused by an accident about eight years ago when I fell down five concrete steps. I broke the fall with my knees. Refusing surgery, I was told that I lucked out, because the bones healed back in place. Except, the doctor said, I would feel pain periodically, sometimes tolerable and sometimes not. Well, weeks ago, it was not. The strange part was, it was the right knee that started hurting. When the pain was gone, the left knee started hurting. I think my knees talk to each other. Mysteriously, they do the thinking, too. One says, enough with acting up – it’s now my turn. Or, let’s give her a break. I resist pain tablets if I can, but try so hard to keep moving. Eventually, the pain’s gone.
Thank God, they’re both now behaving, and feeling so much better. My medicine? Prayers! And some care.
Sing along with Humperdinck
Today, I listened to a repeat of an Engelbert Humperdinck concert on the PBS station. When I was a young girl, I watched his shows on TV and some adults then thought his songs were “wild”. Listening to them today made me think they’re strangely mild compared to many of the contemporary hits. Listen to the Humperdinck songs and you’ll agree, the lyrics are sweetly romantic or lovesick, but always heartily devoted. I remembered the melodies and the lyrics, so I sang along – Spanish Eyes, Love Me with All Your Heart, Quando, Quando, Quando, etc. In my youth, I used to mistake Engelbert for Tom Jones, though the latter rendered more expressive and animated musical interpretations. I watched the Tom Jones concert on PBS months ago, much more toned down, maybe due to mature age, but I enjoyed listening to his repertoire.
You can tell, I love old hits. I don’t believe that has to do with age – rather, it’s more about artistic and symmetrical composition of the melodies and lyrics. And old songs are heavy on that score, I maintain.
Educated training with chopsticks
Mr. Miyagi of “Karate Kid” movie would frown at my stubbornness about refusing chopsticks for a Japanese meal. Fork and spoon are my preference – and without them, my fingers. So, at a fancy Japanese restaurant the other night, a cousin and I requested for forks. Not able to wait and eager to try the fried calamari and assorted tempura, I positioned my chopsticks between my fingers and gingerly picked a calamari piece and carefully pushed it into my mouth. I did well! Didn’t drop the delicious chewy ring. But I used my fingers to snatch a tempura vegetable bean; that was even better. I was happy that in our company of four, there was an 88-year-old sophisticated lady who patiently waited for her fork and spoon before she started to eat.
When I see chopsticks, I think of Mr. Miyagi teaching karate kid to catch flies with the chopsticks. Hmmm … maybe, that I should learn – for fun! Honestly, I admire folks who can adeptly pick up rice from a bowl with chopsticks and eat food without encumbrance from those two slender sticks efficiently positioned between agile fingers. I would like to practice picking noodles from a soup bowl and slurp broth from the bowl. When I master that, I would like to show my skill next time I eat at a Japanese or Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese restaurant. And don’t entice me with a fork or spoon.
An apple a day drives -?
Remember that wise cliché, “An apple a day drives the doctor away”? When my appetite was low due to being under the weather weeks ago, I ate apple slices, at least 3-4 a day. To my surprise, I felt better. Didn’t feel weak. In fact, I seemed to have more energy, and my nagging cold and itch in my throat disappeared. Now, I’m not exactly sure if the apple slices worked the magic. But it did seem magic. I actually felt more normal, in a manner of speaking. So now, I try to maintain the apple nibbling habit every day. Try it. It’ll do wonders. With apologies to the nice doctors – we don’t really mean to rudely “drive you away”. Rather, we’re politely trying to stay away. Pinch me … I’m dreaming.
With due respect to Babyboomerlola (BBL) readers and followers on the internet, here’s a humble update on numbers. To date, BBL has enjoyed 2,600 likes (and followers) on Facebook, an average of 300 internet site readers or views per month to a projected 3600 per year. I just don’t know how many of those views are repeat readers and how many are first timers. Majority of readership come from the United States and Philippines, with steady sprinkles from the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, India, and some surprise trickles from Slovenia, Ukraine, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Nigeria, Samoa, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Japan. I get these readership reports from my site domain. The numbers encourage me, and I am grateful. Though I admit – inspiration at times is evasive, and I desire constancy from my writing muse. When the muse is there, it mustn’t be ignored, I tell myself.
My hope is that BBL delights you. The blogs are timeless – and for all seasons, so to speak. Thank you.