TEMPIS FUGIT
B A R R Y L A N D .

 

 

things i did in 04.
a moustache-twisting journal of the few things in my life worth mentioning

12  |  11  |  10  |  09  |  08  |  07  |  06  |  05  |  04  |  03  |  02  |  01  |  2000  |  99  |  98  |  97

 

 

 

 

 

yeah

 

land of smiles.
six weeks honeymooning in thailand

120 days in the valley.
diaries from my cancer journey

go east.
my month in beijing

fast hannah.
a preliminary bit of blizz blazz

mad skills.
bbbbarry thRoWz U sOmE dEeP hOuSe

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

cellphoned

I finally broke down and got a cell phone in January. I hardly ever use it: it's just for when I'm on the road. But what a major change, and a major convenience. And I've vowed to keep it convenient: technologies, like people, make good servants but ill masters.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

tended the sick

Catherine went through a really tough health year, with ulcerated colitis and its complications crippling her for huge chunks of time. While it rips my heart out every time I hear her sob in pain, sometimes all day long, I also am thankful that I'm able to be by her side to care for her. An unexpected intimacy.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

did another silent movie score

Texas Public Radio hosted another classic movie, F. W. Murnau's "Sunrise," and again asked me to compose and perform a piano score to it. I've gotten to collaborate with several living filmmakers in my independent film scores, but it's wonderful experience to collaborate with dead great ones.     more

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

sliced and diced

on a cutting board handmade for me by fellow composer Jason Young. I told him that his pristine walnut and maple surface would soon be scratched up. He said, "Good. That's what it's for!" Jason's a man who understands the value of good work and good tools: his cutting board is an example of both, and of the idea that nothing is too humble to deserve to be beautiful.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

made the dad sound

One of the sounds of my childhood was the distinctive solid clink my dad's hand made when he picked up a glass or a tool, or simply put his hand down on the table. Of course, that was his ring doing the clinking, and now my left hand had one too, for the first time. Over and over, I noticed myself making that sound, and realized that I'd become what he was in my childhood, a married man. Yep, in case you somehow missed it, I...

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

got married

in April, to the woman of my dreams. After a three month engagement, during which we did less planning for the wedding day than for the marriage itself, we gathered in a glorious O'Neill Ford chapel, a miracle of space and light. Catherine was breathtaking, in a dress that both answered the chapel's pared-down modern classicism and commanded it. Everything about the day was practically perfect, from the heartfelt musical performances that infused their classical sources with fresh feeling (as well as the organist's game rendering of my arrangements and original pieces) to the marriage of centuries-old liturgy with spontaneous words of blessing from friends and family. Far from being the featureless whirlwind some friends had predicted, it was a day that sparkled with details I'll cherish the rest of my life.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

had sex

For the very first time, and with a partner who was also experiencing it for the first time. What an amazing thing sex is, with its untamed ability to release such powerful physical and emotional feelings. Naturally, at first there was awkwardness and pain, but it happened within the context of utter trust, utter exclusivity, and lifelong promise. Nowadays, all awkwardness is vanished, leaving only the trust and love. I wouldn't want it any other way.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

went to thailand

In discussing our honeymoon, we agreed that we wanted to get away for a long while. I've never believed in wimpy 3-day trips anyway. So we explored the land of smiles for 6 beautiful weeks. It was where we lived out the first days of our life together, and it was a thrilling experience all around: we ate dragonfruit and durian, drank watermelon juice and fresh iced mandarin orange pulp, saw stupendous temples, traveled by elephant, bamboo raft, fishing boat, and ox, and fell more deeply in love than ever before.     more

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

celebrated a spiritual birthday

Sometime in 1975, I accepted the great gift of Christ's atonement consciously. Certainly, I was no stranger to spiritual issues, having clapped my hands and sung songs and made religious art with paper and glue. Jesus was an unseen reality to me. But that year, I finally could grasp the issues in a 7-year-old way, which was somehow enough to propel me from that year to this. 30 years of spiritual growth, stagnation, disappointment, ecstasy, plodding and leaping, illusion and disillusion, increasing strength and increasing awareness of weakness. Doubts erased and certainties destroyed. What will the next 30 years bring?

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

smoked pre-embargo cubans

There was some legal tie-up with a shipment of tobacco from Cuba in the late 50s or early 60s; the dispute was finally resolved, the owner, facing the threat of an embargo lift, began selling, and I wound up with some cigars, newly made by Pinar from 40 year old (or older) tobacco leaves. They were immaculately preserved, well rolled, oily, deep, and delicious. Are these the oldest organic matter I've ever partaken of? I think so!

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

woke to the sound of a bell

Just think about the word "alarm." Alarm. The very word says all that is bad about the way some people wake up. We bought a beautiful new clock, a triangle of blond wood with a bell that strikes a single pure clear note in a 10-minute accelerating pattern based on the Golden Mean. It's gentle, well-designed, and such a joy to wake up to that we wonder why we put up with alarming alarms for so long.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

drank less coffee and more fruit juice

I do enjoy a good cup of coffee. I've often rejoiced that the past decade has brought us into an era where the good stuff is almost taken for granted, outside of offices and churches. But this year, I drank less. Maybe it's because Catherine doesn't like coffee that much. Maybe it's just because I drank so much fruit juice. I probably quadrupled my juice intake, and not for any health reason at all. I didn't even really notice till I started doing this list. But there it is, explainable or not. I drank tons of orange and cranberry juice, and not a lot of coffee. The mystery of the body's desires!

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

smoked pot (and pan)

The metal variety, of course. We'd both had a hodgepodge of pots that we'd made do with. But our wedding gifts included a new, encyclopedically complete set of cookware that will likely outlast us. They hold well in the hand, they cook evenly, and they clean well when there's been a little bit of, uh, smoke. Even when you're not the best cook, good tools are among life's pleasures.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

read books by friends

An old friend and a new one, both first time authors. A friend from Catherine's spiritual family, Amy Henderson, wrote a fantasy called "The Stella Lapis," about an elf princess who discovers her destiny. Amy is a master of plotting and pacing; the book breathlessly tells itself, and leaves the reader hungry for another tale told in this confident voice. The second is a high school pal, Alice Underwood, who co-wrote the remarkable novel "Iokaste," a telling of the Oedipus myth from his mother's point of view. Alice was brilliant back in school, and has only sharpened: the writing was engaging, playful, odd, right on the mark, flowered with surprising cultural history and imbued with emotional resonance. The thread of destiny and its relation to faith is both gripping and nuanced, and has, as does the whole tale, the tang of the real. Those familiar with the story will have a few of those silent-on-a-peak-in-Darien moments.     check it out

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

wore florsheim imperial wingtips

Your dad probably wore them; your granddad definitely did. They're very simply the best American shoe, and my parents laid a pair on me for Christmas. Black Imperial Wingtips give an American man all he needs: for businessmen, seriousness and style; for working men, an eternal Sunday best; for jazz musicians, Ellington dash and Brubeck cool. They sharpen jeans, give slam to a suit, support a tux (or, as I learned on April 3rd, a morning suit), and never look like they're even trying. It's like wearing Cary Grant on your feet. I have friends who wear their grandfather's pair, passed down; maybe I'll have at least one grandson who cares about shoes.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

invented an improvement on hospital corners

Catherine's bedsheet philosophy is so radically different from mine that something had to be done. Problem: the sheet must be tucked in to avoid being a wadded up amoeba; but the lovely feet must not feel constricted. Solution: I arrived at an elegant darting fold, creating a foot-tent that gives plenty of that important kicking room but remains admirably tucked for days.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

became a new uncle

Catherine's sister had a baby in February, a girl named Isabel; Paul and Kathy gave birth to a new baby boy, Kenton, the day Catherine and I left for our honeymoon. All this marriage and birth! We're practically a village now.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

joined the fellowship

Catherine's spiritual family, that is: formed in the Charismatic Third Wave of the late 60s, with an Oedipal relationship to the Church of Christ and a pleasant aging-hippie vibe. They're remarkably open, loving, genuine, smart, curious people from all over the denominational map (on any given Sunday the diaspora can be found in Catholic masses, Baptist bible studies, Lutheran communions, and bed). The second generation, the sons and daughters Catherine's age, are seemingly all beautiful geeks with tender hearts and lively minds and a subterranean connectedness that can border on telepathy. Both generations welcomed me with open arms. How nice, for one who has had so few one-of-us moments.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

blogged

Within a few October weeks of each other, three friends told me I should be doing a daily online journal. Can't argue with that.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

saw the end of turandot

An intricate series of minor miracles led to our being in the very country where it was legal to compose an ending to Puccini's final, unfinished opera; right when it had been completed by a talented Thai composer, Somtow Sucharitkul; on the very night of its world premiere, which was also my birthday. A better birthday present would be difficult. The new ending was dramatically and musically and emotionally true. Very satisfying!     more

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

took a student

Most of the time, I refuse pleadings to give music lessons; the few times I've relented, the student quit within 2 weeks. I'm just not the teachin' kind. This time, though, I made an exception for Amelia, a string bassist and friend who I figured might just work out. She quit in 3 weeks. But then we started again in September, and it took for the rest of the year. She was much the same way I was as a bass student, so I tried to channel as much of my bass teacher and mentor, the composer and conductor George Archer Winters, as I could in dealing with her. How odd, to hear myself teaching bass. Boundaries expand.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

double-churched

It all started when the youngish new director at the Episcopal church hired the Jazz Protagonists to be the rhythm section of a worship band during Lent. That mandate grew to an every Sunday deal. So, I go to our worship service and teach Sunday school, then high-tail it down the street to be an honorary Episcopalian. We do Bartokish treatments of Sacred Harp tunes and old Anglican chants, contemporary worship, and even the occasional jazz number. Wachet auf!

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

waxed

Travel in a fastidious land offered a cheap opportunity to try out this expensive treatment, so we thought Why Not? One reason why not is that it hurts. I'm here to tell you it hurts. I've rarely been in that much pain voluntarily. But then, moments later, it's gone, and so is the hair on legs, chest, wherever. We ended up liking the results so much that we bought supplies to wax each other at home, for a fraction of what you pay professionals who don't love you.

 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

ate grapefruit mentos

Catherine and I discovered these delicious things while we were on vacation. They're vexingly hard to get in America. I finally had to order some from overseas. The thing about Mentos is that, while the mint ones aren't really all that minty (though nonetheless delicious), the grapefruit ones are incredibly grapefruity: it's actually juicy, which is a difficult thing to achieve in a candy. For a fruit to be juicy, it must simply have juice, but for a candy to be juicy, it has to approximate and recreate the experience of juiciness. All of which they did right when they made grapefruit Mentos. Bless them.

 

\ - / - \ - / - \ - / - \ - / - \ - / - \ - /

what a year. dedicated to the glory of god.

==============

so, what did you do?

 

 

12  |  11  |  10  |  09  |  08  |  07  |  06  |  05  |  04  |  03  |  02  |  01  |  2000  |  99  |  98  |  97