Well, I hit a wall on my grant progress shortly after our son left on Wednesday.
The energy of juggling regular meals, avoiding each other’s space when all three of us (both hubby and son are over 6 feet tall, so figure three adult bodies) were camped-out inside our homey 1100 square foot rental, balancing rest and relaxation with a few jaunts here and there, and just the comfy, constant companionship of each other’s company must have triggered my resolve to focus on the grant regardless by squeezing in very productive ‘me times’. (Now how’s that for a sentence?)
I admit, I panicked. After all, my goal is to have all but the Budget Section finished sometime within the first full week of December – which is right around this weekend’s corner. Yikes. So what did I do to allay that panic?
Took a walk. No good.
Took a shower. No good.
Cleaned up the kitchen. No good.
Cleared out the leftovers in the fridge. No good.
Stayed up all night staring at the computer monitor hoping the words would come. No good.
Downed two, yes, two, pots of coffee in the hopes that would help the above. No good.
Then it hit me…It’s all about the music.
I picked up the Prisloe and began playing. Way good.
Got tired too soon, probably due to all of the above prior incidents and decided to change out strings. There is something therapeutic in that for us cgers. The rhythm of unwinding the old, thuddy, brittle strings and replacing them with a fresh set is quite uplifting. A whisper of future serenades and unspoken communing between ourselves and our instrument lingers with each turning of the tuner keys…
After decades of playing and performing, my go-to, very favorite strings are Savarez Alliance High Tension 540 J’s. (or, the blue pack)
One year, while on the road between homes, I accidentally received two packs of Savarez Alliance Standard Tension 540 R’s (or, the red pack) in with my mail order. I tried one set and wasn’t impressed, so never used the other set, but kept it as an emergency pack in my case.
Now this string change, I chose to use ‘em up. Get rid of them before I re-enter the recording studio realm where those 540 J’s will carry my pieces successfully through the sessions. I also had another motive in putting them on this time around. As my practice sessions have increased, the fatigue factor of my left hand has hindered further time increases.
While I won’t go into all the cool details of the pros and cons of each set of strings, I will say that these ‘soft strings’ are just the thing for helping me gain strength and endurance for this re-entry into a more active/demanding playing/recording/performing schedule. A kind of PT (physical therapy): serving to allow my left hand to execute movements without excessive straining.
I spent most of Thursday in a longer practice session without pain of any sort. This confirmed to me that the warning signal of ‘pain’ was not related to my technique, but in the need to work up my left hand muscles to the level of intensity of when I was gigging/performing regularly.
Let’s see, that about covers Strings, Strength and oh yes, Soup. Friday I purposely avoided all contact with anything remotely related to the grant, including practicing. I actually got out and about seeking Christmas gift ideas, immersing myself in the quaint activity known as ‘Window Shopping.’
The weather was a bit nippy, thus igniting the urge to set a big pot of homemade soup on to simmer for the evening meal. I mixed up a batch of homemade cornbread to accompany the soup which added to the enjoyment of our repast.
Here then is my thrown together version of Black Bean Soup…I dub it:
Bruno’s Brazilian Black Bean Soup
Use the equivalent of 3 cans of black beans – I cooked partially pre-soaked dried beans in a combo of chicken stock and water with oregano, cumin, garlic salt, black pepper, a 1 inch chub of peeled ginger (quartered), 3 cardamon pods (optional), a few smashed garlic cloves, 1 small carrot (chopped) and a bit of chopped onion till tender. In a small fry pan, saute 1 jalapeno, garlic, several mini-peppers of varying colors and more garlic. Fish out the ginger and cardamon pods, then add sauted veggies to soup pot along with the juice of 1 orange. Simmer till done. Serves 2-3.