Monday, January 30, 2017

Music and the Minimalist Kitchen.

I had no idea that I would fall in love with the Los Angeles area.  I've been in LA for work several times in the past but I never spent time exploring the mountains and gardens around Pasadena and Altadena.  It's really wonderful here! The Huntington library, Art and Garden complex is a 30 minute walk from our apartment and it's spectacular.

Setting up an apartment in Pasadena has been like a flash back to college days. The living room is sound equipment, 2 keyboards and 2 chairs. The bedroom is a mattress (Albeit a new fabulous Beauty Rest) on the floor and a lamp.

The kitchen is a study in minimalism and we love it!  2 wine glasses, 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 plates! Actually we have enough stuff to cook with and we could feasibly and comfortably have exactly 2 guests over at a time and we hope to soon.

Music work is beginning. I taught one student yesterday and I've been compiling ideas for some new material while I sit with my music on my lap cross legged on the bed as George composes in the other room.

Next week I'll be back in Austin full force teaching and doing gigs. I feel pretty damned fortunate to be able to do what I love between two very cool places.

Friday, January 27, 2017

On the road again!

Traveling to new places always expands my vision.  I am reminded that there are so many different ways to live. There are so many different types of people who are moved by the vastly different environmental surroundings that shape their unique culture.
This trek that George and I are currently on isn't really very far. We're just driving from Austin Texas to Pasadena California, yet the changes in color, and light and texture and the dynamics of the people who live along this 1300 mile line are remarkable. The food, the art, the politics, the general aesthetic noticeably shifts along the highway.

Here are some shots that I've taken while on the road this week in West Texas, Santa Fe New Mexico, and Sedona Arizona.  I'm still to Oregon after Pasadena California, but I'll be back in Austin to play some jazz gigs on February 24th at the Elephant Room with GATO 6, and then a warm musical offering with two great friends Alex Coke and Peggy Stern at a house concert hosted by the phenomenal piano restoration wizard Bernard Mulberg at his beautiful home on Feb. 26th. (email me for more info. on that event!  And on March 5th the Suzi Stern Quintet will be the featured band at the Austin Jazz Society concert series at Chez Z.

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West Texas Beauty

Headed to Lubbock

Cotton. Clouds of white soft loveliness growing out of a stark dry soil popping out of unforgiving sharp pods. Imagine picking this for 12 hours a day.

George and the west Texas big sky.

Snow and berry vines in Santa Fe.

Crab Apples and snow...Santa Fe

Santa Fe adobe

At our dear friend John's home in Sante Fe..talking over vino in his great kitchen...look at that kitchen!!

More snow in early morning Sedona Arizona!

Snow on grasses, Sedona Az

Bell Rock in a cloud Sedona

George growing out of nature!

Beyond the wire...

Wire and snow scape

Bell Rock

Our planet is so stunning!!

Earth and sky...intense!

By mid day the snow had melted and the red's of the earth intensified.

Happy Hiker!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We The People...

I'm racing to pack for our trek to LA.  I haven't even started and we want to hit the road in an hour!
But before I focus on that task, I had to take a minute to share some images from yesterdays amazing protest march in downtown Austin.

My heart is full. I am encouraged to see that so many people...not just in Austin, but all over the world came together to have their voices display a show of unity demanding that our new president hear us...see us...and know that this is the majority.

The overwhelming vibe of the entire day was kindness, inclusivity, action, support, inspiration from the most wonderfully diverse crowd of over 50,000 men women and children.

Thanks for checking out the pics!

I'll be back in Austin for some gigs in late February.  See you then!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Worst in me and the best in me...

Donald brings out the worst in me...but also the best.
I was taking a power walk this inauguration day morning trying to clear my head and I found myself thinking terrible things, like: "Oh I hope he suffers as he realizes what an enormous job he's taken on...I hope he goes down in a murky sink hole of stress, nasty tweets and continually lower popularity ratings in his precious polls so he can get impeached knowing he was immensely disliked...then in the middle of imagining him burning in a firey pit of doom and despair I caught myself..."wait a minute...I don't want to hate ANYONE...I'm not liking how this feels at all!"

So I switched gears to muster up the compassion thought waves.

Poor Donald. He's just unloved. He was probably the unhealthy unattractive overweight kid at school who never felt loved at home. As I walked along I could see him in the bubble over my head...there he was sitting alone in the playground dreaming about one day being Orange.

Well...he got his dream. He is Orange and he is the 45th president of the United States. Michael Moore predicted this and I never imagined it could come to pass. I don't really think Donald thought it could really happen either as he seems a bit overwhelmed and completely un-prepared.

The other bright spot in all of this is that we are all made profoundly aware of how divided the country really much anger, hate, fear, disappointment and desperation was brewing here, that is now out in the we need to counter that by being even more vigilant about speaking up, defending kind and just ideals...taking actions to defend our civil liberties, become more involved, proactive, loud...most of all loud in love.  So thank you Donald for opening our eyes and scaring us enough to get busy. We have a lot of work to do. I still cannot stand you though. Sorry.

Go hug someone!!



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shadows and light

Keeping a personal promise to blog as often as possible about what's on my mind, I knew the night before America as we know it changes completely with the swearing in of DJT, this would be the  evening of all evenings that I must write.  I just finished a long day of teaching voice lessons to my incredible students. Several of them commented on how scared they were about what would happen after tomorrow.  I've never known an inauguration day that has filled so many people with fear and dread. Frankly I'm at a loss for what I can say that I haven't said so many times that I'm tired of hearing myself talk.
My dear friend Brad Buchholtz said it me some hope moving forward, so I'll share it with you.
"I think it is time to stand together ‘for’ something . . . not necessarily ‘against’ Trump. But: For love, for justice, for compassion, for equality, for Black Lives Matter, for science, for the environment, for NATO, for art and education, for regulation to protect our air and water and land. . . all of it. . . It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to all of that. . . and it encourages inclusion.   Maybe those are the words. Two words. ‘Say Yes.’ As John Lennon sings, ‘Yes is the answer.’  
Thanks Brad.
I'll just say that life is filled with shadows and light. We need both of those elements. Here are some photos I took in "light" of that.
Love, peace, hope to you and thanks for reading my musings.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boys to Men and our Government

I had the opportunity to hang out with my wonderful 6 year old nephew last weekend. I'm blown away by the change in him in just a few he stepped through a portal into a big boy phase over night. He is thoughtful and interactive and funny and so articulate starting sentences with things like "well actually" or " I think this is a really good idea...what do you think..." going on to explain his theory about whatever. He is awesome and I adore him.
But I also noticed what I think to be a distinctly male thing that he started doing recently.  It was reminiscent of Neil Sandler who sat next to me in Mrs. McMurrys class in 1st grade. Both Neil and my nephew have / had this propensity to make crazy eyes all of the sudden while sticking out his tongue and jumping up and down, screaming with wild excitement then running across the room throwing his body onto the couch, popping back up and repeating the process a few times before moving onto speaking in tounges "ga, la, ma, go go, gaga gogo gooo poo poo!!! while walking like a penguin.

I would just sit quietly and watch this process like a fascinating floor show and be in awe of his explosive energy.
I'm always tired.
It started me thinking about how boys have had this characteristic forever I guess...because the boys in my first grade class acted this way and even when I was myself a first grader I thought the male humanoid strange...different from me in ways beyond my understanding at the time...interesting and a bit over zealous and loud. Erratic. Explosive. Obnoxious? 

So maybe the fact that 80.7% of our United States Congress is run by the male humanoid explains a lot.  Hmmm.  Boys to Men who still act like Boys making most of the big important world changing serious decisions for us.

I have a son who is an amazing nephew will grow into an amazing man...this is our hope. That we raise strong women and smart men, but I am reminded that in 2 days we will inaugurate a man with a 6 year old mentality to become the 45th president of the United States. "Well actually" 6 year olds have longer attention spans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Onward towards the next phase

It's pouring rain in Austin today.  Once again I start my blog by talking about the weather. I feel a change in my creative process when the weather changes, so I love the variables that constantly occur outside my window; a cold gloomy, damp day can inspire.

Speaking of inspirations: My 98 year old mum had been visiting us here in Austin from Buffalo NY She flew home yesterday. She is everyone's hero.    At 98 she is still traveling...still cooking and reading volumes of books and is highly opinionated...Rachel Maddow is her hero. She keeps a positive perspective about some pretty extreme changes in the world, politically and her words "we'll get through this period...we'll all muddle through."  Her calm approach to life explains why she's so old, no??

This year I'll be traveling to L.A. for longer periods of time to work and teach and lend support to my husband George while he works with his composition and orchestration talents out there. We'll have homes in both Austin and Pasadena. (pretending we're rich!) We're both excited, a bit nervous but definitely completely optimistic about this new chapter. I love change and this is definitely a big change.

George and I will be in Austin the end of Feb. to play the Elephant Room with GATO 6      and I hope if you're free on March 5th you can make it to hear my band perform for the Austin Jazz Society.

This is my photo shoot team from the last project "Romancing the Dark" They are all amazing artists and have projects going on all over the world at the moment. I was so fortunate to work with them.
My stylist Selena Pinnell,  Videographer RenĂ© Pinnell and photographer Brenda Ladd.

See you post inauguration a new era.
Have your voices be heard and be loud in light of positive change for the future. Spread love, make more music and art, and thank you for being interested in this little artist enough to have read all the way through my ramblings!



Saturday, January 7, 2017

A New Year...

It's freezing in Texas!  We had 18 degrees here last night!  It's beautifully seasonal and I've gotta say I'm really glad that I have a fireplace.
It feels like a good time to look inward, think about what I want to accomplish in this new year, write more music, stress less, exercise more, and be more active in helping out where ever...however I can to motivate positive change in the world...more now than ever I feel it's necessary to have our voices be heard. Art and music can be such a beautiful and powerful catalyst for positive change in the world and social justice. Thank you to all of you who have inspired me to continue on my path as a writer. I want 2017 to be a year with forward movement, forward thinking, more kindness, less discrimination, NO discrimination...wouldn't that be end to violence and hate.  I'm forever the optimist. 
Stay warm...
Stay hopeful. 
Happy New Year!