Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sort of Serendipity

That research program left me emotionally drained. Thus the dearth of posts here on the blog. It's weird how when I was at corporate job writing on the blog was cathartic but now it's become very difficult for the words to come out well.

Part of the reason the program tired me out is that it lead to a reawakening of my "to be or not to be MD" debate. Maybe reawakening is not the right word since the debate never ever fully leaves my consciousness. Worrying about the same thing for 10 years plus makes you feel as though you are going around in circles even when you are moving forward. I need to stop chasing my own tail.

The good news is that I got a very lucky break today. I've been officially unemployed since completing the internship. I had been trying not to freak too much about this, giving myself until after Labor Day to start any true panicking. I've applied to a handful of jobs so far and have even heard back from one place. Unfortunately, my schedule didn't work well for them. That position was for a medical assistant at a dermatologist's office. It would have given me patient contact and even surgical assistant experience. All good stuff for future MD or PA school applications. I was disappointed that I had to pass that up but the positive interaction with the recruiter gave me a burst of confidence. Perhaps that was showing today when I took the mother-in-law to her ophthalmologist for laser treatment. Before the actual treatment I went in to talk with the doctor a bit. Afterwards I went in again so that he could tell me how things went and what the plans for her are. Somewhere in the middle of this conversation he says to me "You're too sharp. Are you pre-med or in the medical field?" DOH! Busted! I was taken aback because I certainly wasn't doing anything to try to impress him. I thought I was acting like my normal, non-anal-supposedly-EX-premed self. When I told him about going to Columbia undergrad and studying Computer Science the poor guy nearly had a heart attack. He ran off to get higher level doc and then I had a nice chat with both of them. They were both encouraging me to keep at it with the MD (though they did admit that PA is a good option). They also offered help and said I could go back any time to shadow them. Before I left the head guy asked me for my contact info, which I though nothing of at the time.

A few hours later I'm at the mall (buying the hubby and brother birthday gifts!) and I get a call from an unfamiliar number. I let it go to voice mail and was quite surprised to hear that it was the doctor calling to ask me some questions. The only logical explanation was that it would be about employment. But I didn't dare hope for it. A job at an ophthalmology office the next town away? (I have 3 years of experience working with neuro-ophthalmologists, by the way.) Working with two friendly doctors who are eager to teach? No, it couldn't be. It was several hours before we got in touch and he we did he did indeed offer me a job. Just like that. No formal interview, nothing. Just "when do you want to start?" Holy smokes, this kind of thing usually doesn't happen to me. But I've noticed than when it does happen it tends to be related to medical things. Is that a sign? Oh wait, I thought I didn't believe in signs anymore.

Soooo. I didn't even have to stress out too much about our lack of money. Tomorrow I will call him back to confirm the pay (a quite decent hourly rate) and the schedule. It looks like I will be working 30-32 hours a week and taking only one class instead of the two I originally planned for. As opposed to the other job I almost got last week, this one has a schedule that works perfectly for me. The learning curve shouldn't be too steep since I will be doing a lot of what I did 10 years ago at the neuro-opth office. And I've already hit it off really well with the two doctors I'll be working with. I didn't even have to interview, something I hate and dread with a passion. The commute is 5 minutes. In fact, it's probably walking distance. Oh, and I get to explore the posh town next door: Rye. Oh, and I get to wear navy blue scrubs to work. Fun!

I wanted to cry when this all happened because I felt this overwhelming sense that my life was being touched by a divine power. I've felt so aimless with my career and I was close to the point of despair. It's like I was picked up, dusted off, and set on a paved road. How far will the road lead me? I don't know yet. But right now I am so very grateful.

My musical motivation is a bit low right now, as it tends to get when the medical one goes up. I really need to work on equilibrating them. The good news is that now I will have money to pick up my lessons again. Waaah, I miss my teachers!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Halcyon moment

For some reason even after a Bachelor's in music and paid gigs (sax, electric bass, backup vocals), I still have trouble considering myself a musician. Now there is the whole "oboist" term to content with. All along I've been calling myself an "oboe student". But lately I've been feeling like maybe I've put in enough work to start calling myself an "oboist", even if I do have to qualify it with something like "amateur". I think that it's my reed making efforts which are causing me to change perspective. Though I still have a ways to go before sounding well-rounded, I feel like the reed making alone is enough to qualify me as a real oboist. Who else but an oboist willingly gives up big chunks of free time to scrape bamboo?

Actually, the real reason behind all this is that I am actively working towards trying to enjoy the journey more in all areas of my life. Left to my own devices, I will focus on a goal almost blindly so that days pass by without my even noticing. Then I start feeling as though I will only be happy once the goal is achieved. But how about if it takes forever (or never happens)? I have to learn to appreciate every day as the gift that it is.

Don't mind me. I'm a bit melodramatic because for a few moments this weekend I felt as though I was in my favorite dream. I may have mentioned it before. The first time I remember having it I was 7 years old. The dream takes place at a wonderful village by the water. It is always dusk and there are wonderful smells of plants, firewood, and sometimes food. Soft music (in minor keys) comes from an unknown source. And many of the people I care about are walking about happily, in preparation for a fun night to come. The funny thing is that time seems to stop in the dream because the sun never quite sets and I never do get to find out what it is that everyone is so excited about. The mood is one of anticipation laced with revelry. It is the most peaceful image I can conjure.

I just realized this weekend, as I was sitting at a park by the water at dusk, that part of what makes the dream so wonderful is the feeling of hopefulness. Everyone is so happy because it feels as though the entire world is out there for us to enjoy and be thankful for. Yet no one is really achieving anything at the moment; we just all seem to have limitless potential. But it's not big feats that matter. It's every day things. The sound of waves, the voice of a friends, a beautiful song.

I vowed to try to apply that to my own life. To quit postponing feeling good until I lose those 20 lbs. Or until I can play the Saint-Saens sonata. Or until I have initials after my name. The only time we have is now. I need to learn to live in an eternal twilight.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

La-a-a-ast Le-e-e-e-so-o-o-on

After a 10 day hiatus I had another lesson last night. I was nervous because I think I still wasn't completely over the teary lesson. Then again because of that lesson I have been tring to focus more during practices, to try to better understand which areas need improvement. My current top area of focus is breathing and support, with tonguing coming in second.

It's a good thing that my breathing and support have improved somewhat because the my lesson last night focused on more vibrato studies. She had me do the pulse exercise a lot faster than what I had been doing at home. I was able to keep up with it for the most part, but after just a few minutes it felt like Olympic training! When she had me play the Sarabande from my Corelli with vibrato I got tired by the 6th bar. This brings the whole concept of endurance to a brand new level.

While I was initially afraid that introducing vibrato may do more harm than good, I think it's actually going to work out well. Trying to get vibrato is forcing me to support correctly because otherwise I can't do it at all (or a do a weird, throaty one that doesn't sound good). And using more air is going to help with my tonguing issues. I continue to revert to my heavy saxophone tounging technique. In order to play merengue jaleos I had to learn to use the middle of my tongue because tonguing on the tip made the sound too short and generally wasn't quick enough. Now I have to retrain myself to use the lightest touch possible with just the tip. Right now my tongue tends to get in the way of my air stream so that my playing sounds somewhat discontinous and less musical. I'm excited about this last lesson because once I can get these two concepts moving along, my playing will sound more balanced.

We went over what I should play for my Wind Ensemble audition in September. I had been feeling that the Corelli is not the right piece for that and she agreed. So she'd like for me to start working on the Marcello concerto, which she called a "stretch" piece. After hearing it this morning I'd call it a "big stretch" piece. I only have to prepare the first movement though, which is doable. I do agree with PY's comment on an earlier post that I need easier music to work on expression. Maybe I will use some methods I have at home for that and for sight reading practice. Oh, and I can also work on it tonight when I meet with my duet friend. Which reminds me, I need to start getting ready to leave. See ya!