Tuesday, October 8, 2013



Meet a member of Wolf's family. I was just messing around the other day and thought I would go looking for some of Wolf's family members. For those of you who don't know, Wolf is my alter-ego. My viola in the real world. He came into my life when I was 19 and has been with me longer than any of my marriages and he's a great deal less fussier and much more reliant and makes me look good; like any great partner should. Well, I found at least one of Wolf's cousins and like his whole family, there is a great deal of controversy, shrouded in mist, wrapped in an enigma, inside a maze. But the non-fretted string world is like that and it has been ever thus. Wolf has been authenticated, has his bona fides and appraised and is insured. Yet, he too, is a mystery. Why? He was born in 1837, only 10 years after Beethoven's death, but 104 years after the violin you see above you was made. Both are authentic; Italian fiddle-makers went on for generations, so although my Johannes Guidantus Florenus is authentic, the one above was undoubtedly made by the original. Maybe, Wolf was made by Josephina. It's just one more layer into the mystery of the world of fine violin-makers and their arcane arts.

The reason? Forgeries and often, very, very artful forgeries. Also, there are loads upon loads of ego involved among the "appraisers" who, either think you've got a lemon, and will give you what you paid for it (! Wolf is not an 'it') and if they can pry precioussssss from your tiny paws, knowing that you're none the wiser, they will turn around and sell it for an arm and a leg and perhaps, a torso. Meanwhile, you'll be playing on something that was built just before the Cold War ended and it will, well, suck. Or, if made by a fine modern violin-maker, as is the case here, it will take longer than your lifetime for the instrument's wood to have really mellowed and come into it's, or hers, or his own voice. Trust me. I know these animals; both human and stringed.

The other problem with figuring out what is what and how old and if it's real or if it's Memorex (or real, for anyone under 40) is that every luthier, violin-maker, bow-maker and/or appraiser, or combination of all three loathe each other. There's so much loathing going on, they probably loathe themselves. It's a real pain in the ass if you have to get a 2nd appraisal from another house, so once you get the bona fides of your chosen stringfellow and pay the outrageous 10% fee of the instrument's worth, or more for the appraisal, treat it like gold, and put it in a safe or hide it.  

Anyway, this is the prelude to saying that I have an excellent viola, which I have not been able to play since 2009. I've been homeless, sick, not homeless and through a horrendous time and there was a time where I mourned the loss of what I thought I may have lost. Well, now that I have my E. T. (essential tremors) under control and am getting on top of my other health problems, which are nagging, and chronic, not life-threatening, I feel I owe it to myself and to this AWESOME instrument that I own to bring us both back to life.

In keeping with that, I'm prepared to establish some deliberate-ish-type goals here, as Andi-Roo would say. Here I am surrounded by all this excellence and I'm really not comfortable just rolling around in it and not participating. But, I have to do it on my own terms. 

So, to begin, To FWA and NaNoWriMo Regions USA :: Florida :: Tampa I won't be coming to meetings, or anything like that and I am terribly sorry. I'm legally blind and it's a hassle for me to get around. I WILL participate on forums and the like as much as possible and I do not want you to take this as a slight, because it is not meant to be. I think writers are some of the most generous people in the world and I appreciate all of the advice and kind criticism that I have been offered. People have been very kind and enthusiastic and this has so enriched my life. I just so hope you understand and I appreciate your forbearance. Thank you.

My goals are going to be simple but reading A New Theory of Elite Performance flipped a switch in my head; a very old switch. Persistence over time is nothing new. I am extremely gifted as a musician; I am also extremely lazy. When I kicked it in, I was already in college, or maybe I was in my first paying gig, I cannot remember, because I was always convinced I was supposed to be where I was; with my ass in a viola section somewhere. Keeping that in mind, I had to backtrack. There was a time I had tendinitis and had to go through a forced period of rest and rehab; that sucked, so I am going to fall back and punt and run some more metaphors up this here flag pole and list me some goals!

Goal #1 Polish my playing skills (again!) to the point that I can pass an audition for one of several volunteer orchestras here in the Tampa Bay Area. I don't want to just be accepted for how I used to play; there are too many "geezer" orchestras. If I can see well and play well enough to pass an audition to play with retired members of the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic in 2014, that will mean something to me.

Daily viola practice, scales, 3-octaves, "Vocalise" transcribed for viola, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sibelius Symphony #2 - Sightreading

15 minutes , 4 times a day, for a total of one hour, for 2 weeks.  
30 minutes,  3 times a day, for a total of 90 minutes, for 2 weeks. 

October 9,2013 - 

Goal #2 Write something, anything that I can either publish, or get published or earn money with. I know that this is just nebulous as hell, but here's a fun fact: someone stole some of my posts and made money off of them and I've never earned a dime. So, to this end, instead of playing endless games of "Bejeweled" or "Candy Crush," see "Candy Crush is Stupid, You Guys,"  and just adding a bunch of one-liners to everyone else's funny and funnier posts than anything I can write, I think I'll actually read me a few guides about how to write or browse through some of the Critique Circle's material. I've been invited to write a story. I could submit some of my posts about my life, but then, they would probably think I'm just making shit up. Trust me, I'm not.

Daily writing - At least 750 words per day. I am also going to participate in NaNoWriMo again, this year, if nothing else to best my personal best of 1737 words for the entier month of November and NaNoWriMo 2012. Yeah, stellar.

October 9, 2013 -

Goal #3 - Physical care, eating and gasp! exercise This has become a major issue in my life, but I have to say this: I am a lucky bitch! After god knows how many years of slow-mo self-destruction, I have once again, risen from the dead, I believe. The Primodone has helped tremendously. I am also still taking my anti-depressant and that is straightened out for another year. I am on iron and my COPD is under control, at last. I quit smoking and drinking for good in September 2010 and feel so much better for it. I can honestly say that I'm where I am supposed to be. A little stint among the homeless did me no harm and actually broadened my horizons. I believe too, that it has given me a greater depth of compassion for people who are truly oppressed, and an appreciation for what I have. I am where I am supposed to be.

To stay here, I have to take: medication for depression, bipolar and now, Essential Tremor. I must also take montelukast for Asthma, Spiriva and Advair for COPD. 1 Pre-Natal (! my primary doctor rocks, it works) vitamin, 2 x 600mg calcium with vitamin 400 IU, 2 X Vitamin D3, 4000 IU, 1 capsule, Iron 150mg, 4 X Vitamin E, 1 X folic acid 800 mg, 2X cinnamon 1000 mg, 1 X niacin 500 mg non-flushing. 

Once a week, I inject intramuscular cyanocobalamin 250 mcg/mL, since I cannot absorb B-12 through my stomach; I had ulcers from the age of 9; they went undiagnosed until the age of 29, when they perforated a 3rd time. I didn't even know it the first 2 times. Anyway, eating healthy for me is:

Salads, whole wheat bread sandwiches, some fruit. I used to eat constantly and everything in sight and never had a problem with my weight. My sugar was fine and I've always had low cholesterol. I still do, but now, my sugar is out of control, partly due to my E.T. and partly due to the fact that I am the Carbohydrate lover of all time. Pasta, 8 days a week would be fine with me. No more. I had blinding headaches and my eyesight, bad enough to begin with, is suddenly worse, blurrier up close and at one point my sugar was as high as 335. EGAD!

My PCP (primary care physician) is on top of this and I see her on the 7th of November. At this point, I'm pretty confident I can control this with diet and exercise

Walk at least, 1/2 hour a day. This could be problematic. JC is still not as ambulatory as he once was when we met, but he needs the exercise as well. He has a class tomorrow, so I will be on my own.

October 9, 2013


I'll update daily and we'll see how this goes; I'm feeling well and ready to tackle some. . . thing. With that roaring endorsement, off we go!


  1. I love your goals. I love your fire. I know I would love your music. So much good here!

  2. Shan, You are so very, very kind. I had to laugh over "Shan, Shah," and I apologize. I appreciate what you said about my music and fire. I share the same birthday as Beethoven and I have always been someone who is just passionate about everything I do. A lot of that I got from my parents. Although I didn't have the greatest childhood, and frankly, who does, they lived their lives fully and with passion. My mother was especially fervent in her pursuits and was always committed to wringing every last drop out of whatever she was doing at the time. My father did as well, but less so, as time went on, as he was an alcoholic, but always had a job and wasn't mean. He was more of a maintenance drunk. They were both wonderful, but, that kind of life, admittedly, takes it's toll. But, I thank you for sponsoring #ROW80. This is such an awesome place to be and I am so very grateful to be doing this. I've had an interesting life. As in, the Arabic curse, "May you live in interesting times." Just kidding!

  3. Oh, Mary! I'm so glad to learn you are getting back to your musical roots! Can't tell you how much that thrills my heart and warms my soul. Take breaks when you need, go slowly -- baby steps, my darling -- and just keep at it as you are able. I just know doing your "thing" will lift your spirits and get some life back into your ET / PD / non-PD body! :) Loving this new blog already & looking forward to all you have to offer. Good luck with your writing -- we are, indeed, on this journey together! {{{HUGS}}} Much love and lots of thumbs-up and wolf-whistles and frightful singing from me & the rest of the Roo-fam!!! xoxo