Sunday, April 3, 2011


Life is so unpredictable.

A week ago yesterday, Andy and I saw one of my former UNT colleagues, Derek, perform as the Evangelist in Bach's St. John's Passion with Chatham Baroque. Yesterday, as the eventual result of my attending that concert, I performed with the Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble.

It all started with a Facebook ad.

It's taken us a while to get out to concerts since we've been in Pittsburgh. The very first musical performance I attended was pretty underwhelming, so maybe that was keeping me. Lots of them have been cost-prohibitive, as we're not exactly carrying around large sacks of money these days. Part of me, too, was afraid of how going to a concert would make me feel--that maybe it would remind me of my feelings of total inadequacy. For all of these reasons, I stayed away.

I happened to see an ad for Chatham Baroque on the sidebar in Facebook one day. Since the early music community is a small one, and the ad boasted of guest artists in the upcoming performance, I decided to click on it and see if I knew anyone who would be performing. Sure enough, I saw Derek, with whom I've performed on a number of occasions. Figuring he'd want to know there was a familiar face in the audience, I sent him a message letting him know we were planning on going. He replied, saying he'd comp our tickets (which ended up being a VERY good thing, because it turns out we wouldn't have been able to go otherwi$e).

After the performance (which was great), he and I chatted. He said he'd been telling some of the instrumentalists that there was a baroque cellist around, and that they were surprised and always happy to find local musicians. "You should contact them," he said.

Yeah, right. That is so not me.

But, I did it anyway.

I sent out three quick emails, and I only got one reply, from the Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble. They were really excited to know I was around. I sent the email on Thursday, I think, and received a reply the same day. Friday afternoon, I received another email, saying that their cellist was sick; would I be able to come to a rehearsal this afternoon for a gig tomorrow? How's that for timing?

So (not having a baroque instrument), I tuned Gus (steel strings and all!) down to 415, and off I went to the rehearsal. It went well, and the director decided that whether or not their cellist was better by the concert, since I played the rehearsal it made more sense for me to play. (Unfortunately, the cellist didn't get the three messages left for her on the topic, so she showed up right before the downbeat, instrument in hand. Awkward all around. I felt bad . . . kind of.) Turns out it was a pretty cool gig--a benefit concert in support of Japan. The emcee was one of the hosts of the classical music station, and there were members of the Pittsburgh Symphony and other really good local musicians. It restored my faith in the music scene here.

A perfect confluence of events. If I hadn't seen that Facebook ad and decided to see who was performing . . . if I hadn't contacted Derek (with whom I was only barely acquainted) . . . if he hadn't offered the comps . . . if we hadn't had that little conversation . . . if I'd sent the email a day later . . . if the cellist hadn't gotten sick . . . if I hadn't been at my computer (I got the email an hour before the rehearsal) . . . if this hadn't been the perfect "experimental" gig to try out a new cellist . . . if if if . . . !

So, who knows what will come of this, if anything. But, the gig went well, and I think everyone was pleased (except the other cellist, probably). Just goes to show you the power of a little initiative, being prepared, and perhaps a little divine help.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Bloggerdom

Visit Andy and my "Married Blog."

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Totally Awesome Life

Well, married life, for those of you keeping score at home, is awesome. Let me paint a picture for you:

Our wedding day was practically perfect. There was a slight embarrassing moment close to the end of the day where the bride almost passed out. Don’t fret, though, everything’s fine. Too many things in combination: dehydration, low blood-sugar, tightly tied corset-back dress constricting oxygen flow to my brain, lots of standing, emotional stress . . . I was fine as soon as I got four glasses of water and out of the dress.

Other than that slight mishap, though, it was lovely. It was the most perfect day we could ever ask for in January—sunny and 70 degrees outside. We were able to take photos outside! It was great, and such a blessing. The weather in Texas is so unpredictable that even the week of, we had no idea whether we should expect it to be freezing or delightful—and thankfully, the latter happened to be the case.

The luncheon was perfect. We went to the Greenhouse Restaurant: the site of our first date. The food was delicious! It was fun to see our families gathered together for the first time. His mother was so excited and his father was beaming. We were having a lovely time.

We had a small ring ceremony right before the reception, where our good Bishop said some lovely words and we exchanged rings before our families. It was special and he did a wonderful job. Bless him for putting so much time and effort into our little ring ceremony!

The reception was lovely. The Wildwood Inn did a wonderful job, and thought of everything! It was so nice to not have to worry about this or that, and to just be able to enjoy our guests and the delicious food! What fun.

We honeymooned for a few days in San Antonio, where we enjoyed walking around the city and seeing all the sites that San Antonio has to offer. Our hotel was just steps away from anything we could have wanted to see, so we parked the car and only used it once, to go to church on Sunday. Other than that, we walked everywhere.

Now we’re back home. The Husband is at work right now as I sit in our living room typing in a word document (we don’t have internet at the apartment yet), we’re trying to get the place all pulled together before I start school again next week. It’s coming together nicely. We have been so blessed by the kindness and generosity of our friends and family and find ourselves lacking very little in the way of anything we need. The place is great. We have two lovely balconies that overlook the countryside. We look out our bathroom window and we see two horses. There are six happy dogs that greet us when we come home. It’s small, but we have everything we need, and even a few touches to make it more like a home. Our landlord is amazingly kind and wonderful (as I type this right now, he’s climbing on our roof to try and get our satellite TV working, bless his heart) and is so willing to help us with everything. We feel so blessed.

Pictures are on their way. I can’t find the cord to The Husband’s camera, so I can’t load them onto my computer and put them online when I get to the internet. So stay tuned, my faithful readers. And keep an eye out for the Andy and Rachel Blog Extravaganza! Because married people always should keep blogs.

In the mean time, here's a teaser to whet your palates.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are we there yet??

Ahh, the wedding. We have reached 100% eat, sleep, and breathe wedding mode. Everything that I do anymore has something to do with the wedding. Hooray!

Within 24 hours, virtually my entire family on my dad's side will be in town here, to celebrate in the festivities. A joyous time indeed.

I wish I could enjoy it more. I'll be running wedding errands, and trying to move (right now, I'm about 90% at my parents' house vs. 10% at the new apartment).

At this point, I have all but given up on everything, and just want it to be over. Don't get me wrong--I am so excited about it that I can barely stand it--but there's just so much STUFF that needs to be done and I'm really beginning to doubt that it will all get done. I'm sure when it comes down to it, either it will or it won't, and if it doesn't then it must not have been that important anyway. I just wish that I could have some peace of mind in the midst of all the turmoil around me.

I know I'll survive, as all you married people have. I know it will all be worth it. I just want to see those results NOW not later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My, how time flies.

As predicted, this month is whizzing by. It's already halfway through, and we're seventeen days away from our wedding. SEVENTEEN. Eep. There is still tons to do, but hopefully it will all get done somehow.

Now that school is over for the semester, I feel like I'm finally starting to believe that this is really happening. As soon as December hit, I began to suspect it was real, but I was still swimming with finals and juries and crazy gig weekends and losing my mind. My brain seems to be returning, for which I am grateful. I have missed it so.

In fact, it was to the point that I actually MISSED my jury this semester. I thought it was the day after it actually was. My pianist Kostya saw my teacher in the hallway, and called me right after that to tell me I had miscalculated my jury time by about 24 hours. Yikes. Thankfully, the faculty were mercifully understanding, and allowed me to play for them during a slot that had opened up the following day (which, by some strange coincidence, happened to be during the exact same ten-minute slot as my baroque jury, of all the ten-minute slots of the day). It all worked out, though, thankfully, and the juries went well, I think.

So, here we are. It's winter here, at least for now (Sunday it was 75 degrees outside, then Monday it had dropped to 24), and things are falling into place.

Oh yeah, and then there's Christmas. Guess I need to get out and do some shopping, in the midst of all my wedding errands.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Long December.

Welcome to the final month of my singleness, ladies and gentlemen. Here I am, putting off what I should be doing (practicing) to do something that has little or no merit at all. But I keep thinking of December, and how by the time it's finished, I will be just hours away from being a married woman. Nonetheless, December is a pretty wild and crazy month. It's prime time for a freelance cellist like myself to prostitute her skills out to various area churches, as well as it's finals and juries, and well . . . CHRISTMAS. It's one of those months where I just have to take one day at a time, but I know it's going to fly by. In the mean time, I'm trying to maintain a small semblance of sanity by highlighting exciting days in my brain:

Dec. 2 : Juries are over !
Dec. 4 : Last class day !
Dec. 5 : Details meeting @ Reception Venue !
Dec. 9 : Last final !
Dec. 10 : Final quartet performance / Baroque cello recital !
Dec. 24 : Christmas Eve / last Christmas church gig !
Dec. 27 : Temple Day !
Dec. 31 : New Year's Eve / Unca Chris's b-day fiesta !
Jan. 2 : Nuptials ! ! ! !

I keep telling myself I need to make it to the 10th before I really start thinking about wedding stuff, but so far that's not going so well. Ay, the whole month is already so busy! I can't believe it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life Goals

If I had all the time in the world, I would:

*Learn at least three languages other than English fluently (Spanish, French, Japanese?)
*Go to culinary school / become a foodie
*Write my memoirs
*Write a novel
*Start my vegetarian bakery-cafe
*Become a yogi
*Learn to juggle
*Learn to knit
*Sleep 8 hours every night
*Write more handwritten letters
*Learn how to play the piano
*Get a massage therapy license
*Get SCUBA certified
*Learn my orchestral excerpts really well and practice them daily and
*Learn and memorize all of the presidents of the U.S. in chronological order