Straight Out of a Romantic Painting

We took the house! It was just too charming to pass up. (This picture is not actually it, but it sure does look like it, foliage and all.) We'll be able to get in to start painting in a couple of weeks. It's cozy, but not cramped and, although the bedrooms are smaller than we'd like, we can make it work. Besides, the layout is perfect for us and the actual living area is pretty roomy for a cottage. Here are some of its selling features...

My Current Project

My opera - hundreds of pages!

The Count Down

With only 31 days remaining before we say goodbye to our home of five years, the hunt for a new one is stepping up. We haven't had the greatest luck, although this town is full of rentals. The problem is, most of those that are in our price range are either student tenements or white trash pigsties, and the houses that were nice have been snatched away from us for a variety of reasons...


Remember... Remember...

Sometimes, it takes every last ounce of strength that I have left to remember the lessons of this classic book. I really need to get a new copy of it; my original copy got lost in a move.


We Are Geeks

We spent Nettl's birthday with our family, and with music. Lauren drove up from OU to spend the weekend, and it's great having her home. She gave Nettl a DVD of Covent Garden's 2003 production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), and we watched it almost immediately...



Because today is Nettl's birthday I want to post an updated version of something I posted a few years ago, but that I know my newer readers didn't see. I cannot imagine who I'd be, where I'd be, or what the hell I'd be doing if she hadn't found me...


For Those Who Think Classical Music is Stuffy

Below is a snippet of a recording of a piece by the 26 year-old Mozart. It is a 3-part canon (round) that he composed to sing with his friends while partying. It was probably an exercise in 3-part canon composition because he wrote a couple more like it, one that is pretty long. The title, Leck mich im Arsch, translates to, literally, lick me in the ass, but its sentiment is more like, kiss my ass. Below the YouTube screen you will find the words, first in German, then in English...


Getting a New Story

Are You Making Excuses Instead of Pursuing Your Dream?
Source:  The Art Of Sensitive Living Blog

I‘ve been hearing an awful lot of excuses lately.
  • “It’s always been this way for me, so I can’t do it any differently.”
  • “I don’t know how.”
  • “I’m not qualified to do that” or it’s slightly better version, “I’m not qualified to do that yet.”
  • “I can’t do it where I live.”
  • “I don’t have enough time.”
  • “I have to support my family, so I can’t take the risk of starting a new business."
  • “No one will want what I have to offer.”
In the deliciously parallel way the world operates, I can relate, because as I’m exploring new directions for my own life and work, some VERY interesting excuses are coming up. I know it’s just my fearful ego-mind and my gremlins saying, “No, no! Run away! Change is not safe! What are you thinking?!”

The problem is that we allow these excuses to stop us dead in our tracks from pursuing our dreams. Sure, these naysayer messages will come up. But it’s our choice to decide whether we listen or not.

Remember, these excuses are like a code — if we pay attention, they point us to what’s really going on. We are afraid, and usually that we “aren’t good enough.” We’ve been trained to think that way by our less-than-supportive cultural model that programs for conformity.

Here are five tips to help you get your thinking-cap on straight:
  1. The first step is awareness. Notice what you’re saying to yourself and other people about why you can’t do something. Is it REALLY true? Or is it just an excuse in disguise?
  2. Appreciate your true brilliance. Learn to see how valuable, special, and important you really are. You have a unique take or approach to what it is you do, and there’s no one else like you.
  3. Get a new story. It’s time to let go of all your limiting thinking and get a new story to tell. Aren’t you tired of listening to yourself saying the same things over and over again? Start telling a new story about how you are inspired to create the life you want, and even if you don’t know how yet, you’re determined to find the way to get there.
  4. Find your courage. When I saw my teacher Sonia Choquette recently, she shared a story about the courageous heart of a mother lion, leading her cubs to an oasis,  looking neither left nor right at all the safari paparazzi around her, but focusing straight-ahead on her goal. Let your courageous heart guide you, let nothing deter you. Use your courage to focus only on where you want to go.
  5. Wonder instead of making excuses. Any time you find yourself tempted to use an excuse, wonder instead. “Ask your intuition to run wild and free” (as astrologist Rob Brezney said recently) to help you discover your path. Say, “I WONDER how I can learn what I need to know,” and “I WONDER how I can create my dream successfully.”
Give up making excuses, and give yourself the chance to pursue your dreams.

Find a new way, find out how, get training, open your eyes to the possibilities, start small, but start now, plan, research, learn, transition, and find your true audience. (Want help claiming your dream? Join me for 30-minute “Dream Illumination” session. Click here to claim yours right now. Only 10 available.)

Pursue your dream. Remember: the world needs you, and all your brilliance, right now.



I've actually had two full nights of great sleep. I've been going to bed before 2:00 and it feels great. One of the reasons is that I've learned to resist the after-dinner nap. Another is not drinking iced tea after about 7:00. I don't know how long this will lastI've done it beforebut for now, it feels pretty good.

It's been effing hot this week. Yesterday it got to 102°. That's too hot. Can't even use the hammock in that kind of heat.


To Live the Life Authentic

"I will live authentically, accepting blame for my mistakes as well as praise for my triumphs. Judge me if you will, but judge me for my dedication to living my own truth." - SK Waller

The More We Judge, the Less We Love

This year's Celtic Festival was, to be kind, underwhelming. Maybe it's because we went on Sunday at about the time all of the church people in this town were converging upon Perkins and Walmart, or maybe it was because it was Father's Day. Probably, it was both.

There was a trio of musicians that was really very good though, and we had a lot of laughs making jokes about McChow's, meat pies, and "rocking the crosses" (you had to be there). After about an hour, Dr. Kielbasa offered to treat us to lunch. He had a taste for BBQ, but can you believe that every BBQ place in town was closed on Father's Day? We decided to go to El Tapatio instead and we had a great time. Although I'd had only one hour of sleep, I made it through until the carbs started to hit me. When we came home, I took a two-hour nap. Later, I took another one...


Scots and Welsh and Irish, Oh My!

Today, we're all piling into the van, stopping by Dr. Kielbasa's to pick him up, and then we're going to the Oklahoma Celtic Music & Heritage Festival. Last year's was pretty cool. We heard some great music and looked at all the crafts. We also ran into J, tipped a Guinness or two, and talked with some shirt-tail kin from Nettl's Scottish clan. You know the guys. They're the ones who toss poles and chuck boulders around out in the field. I looked for some of my Irish clan, but the closest I came to finding any was the longhaired goats in the stables.

Anyway, this is my entry for Sunday. Have a great day!


20 Reasons Why I Love Jacey Ranae

In 2004 or 2005 Nettl invited a young woman over for some chat and wine. She'd met her at the cat clinic, where they worked together. Her name was Jacey Ranae (I often call her Racey Janae), and the minute I saw her, I felt that I knew her from somewhere long, long ago and that we were going to be very close. Since then, I have been proven correct, and I just want to share this special young woman with you, partly because last Thursday was her birthday...



What if you could meet yourself? What if life got so difficult that another you popped out to handle the crap for you? I'm not talking about something as logical as multiple personality disorder, I'm talking about an actual double. I'm not even talking about a clone. I'm talking about a gen-u-ine doppelganger...


"They Pay Me to Do This? Arf!"

The first half of this commercial busts me up. I mean, what's funnier that a dog getting paid to do the butt scuttle?

"Hey Mom, check out Toby's new trick!"


Where Have All the Rug Rats Gone?

I think it's finally hitting me although it has been coming on for at least two years. Before Nettl came into my life in 1999, bringing with her three lively, intelligent, sometimes demanding, usually pretty independent children ranging between the ages of 8 and 12, I hadn't thought about Empty Nest Syndrome. I'd been a single parent for many, many years and the idea of keeping my chicks nearby was not based on a parental-only relationship, but also friendship...


Time Travel

Today (yesterday to you), without planning it, Nettl and I watched movies set in the 18th century. These included Barry Lyndon, Valmont, Affair Of The Necklace, and Amadeus.

As Mozart historians (which necessarily includes being knowledgeable about the 18th century), we see a lot of flaws in every movie whose story takes place 200 or so years ago. Face it, watching any of these movies with us would be no fun for anyone who doesn't share our love for historic authenticity...


No Sleep Tonight

It think it has been two weeks since I've had a glass of wine. That's okay. I've been enjoying sweet tea and ice water during the early heat wave we've been experiencing. To the consternation of my trolls, I'm not an alcoholic, but I do admit to being a minor league wino. Hey, me and Johnny Depp. Bite me.

At 9:00, I laid down to take a 15 minute nap and didn't wake up until 11:00 pm. I knew I was going to be up all night, so I poured some wine and gave in to my fate. Now, it's nearly morning and I feel like it's only about midnight.

We looked at a house last evening. It's good. Nothing special, but good. I can't see us living in it though; it didn't "vibe" me. I still see us in the 70s house with the Tuscan remodeling, near the elementary school. The closer we get to August, the more anxious I become. I don't want to find ourselves on July 15, with no house. Damn. This stuff never used to bother me, I was a nomad constantly looking for the next horizon. Getting older really sucks sometimes.


Nature's Alarm Clock

I was wakened by a huge crack of thunder that was quickly followed by torrential rain. Because it was so dark, I thought it was early in the morning, so I looked over at the desk only to find that Nettl wasn't there as she usually is in the mornings before she goes to work. I looked at the clock and realized we were in the midst of a storm. Cool!...


The Mozart Cache

Over the past year or so, you, my patient readers, have read entries in which I cryptically referred to my "Mozartiana". Until now, I was not at liberty to explain what that is, because I was requested by the anonymous owner of the now-famous Mozart Cache (formerly known as the Hagenauer Cache) to "sit on this for a while and allow me to work my magic". As I write this, however, the cache is on exhibition in Milan, so I can at last unveil my treasures...

Earworm & Variations

I know without a doubt that my muse is back and in full swing because my brain is composing variations again. Of course, it will grab any old tune without asking me first and, only after going through about four variations, I'll realize what's going on. I've composed variations on everything from Mozart to the theme from Gilligan's Island. I don't write most of them down, though. Today, my brian is composing variations on Percy Grainger's Country Gardens. I may commit this one to paper, actually. It's pretty good. No idea how that tune got into my head. I haven't heard it since Allen Sherman recorded it as Sweet Suburbia back when I was a kid.

For my non-musical friends:
Theme & Variations: In music, variation is a formal technique where a stated tune is altered during repetition. Here's an example. First, you'll hear the pianist play the theme, which will then be followed by variations that Mozart composed on it.

Anyway, this is how I know I'm a composer. It's relentless, and I love it.

Happy Birthday Ville!



Last night at around 8:45 pm, Nettl and I sat here discussing what we should do about the flat tire the van got on Friday when she went to the SuddenLink office to pay our bill. They're doing some construction work and a screw fell into the customer parking lot. Of course our car would find it. She put some Fix-a-Flat in the tire and that worked fine until last night when she noticed it was fla-a-at...


Well, That Was Easy

I've always had this feeling in me that I play violin, and really well. Like I'm supposed to be able to walk around the house fiddling away as I'm talking with Nettl or while partying with friendsreally natural, you know?

I've played a little bit of violin/fiddle throughout my life, although I've never taken lessons of any kind. It was just for fun, mostly jamming with artists after we performed in coffeehouses, or just dinking around alone at home (and sometimes with Ville, who'd dink around on either my piano or my clarinet)...


A Bookish Meme For Saturday

I found this on Facebook. Use it if you want, but try to refrain from italicizing book titles (I know you want to...)...


Writing & the Art of Living

I am doubly fortunate in that not only are Nettl and I classical musicians, we're also writers. This makes for a lot of stimulating conversation, even if we might not always agree. Honestly though, we agree about 99.9% of the time.

Last evening over dinner, we spoke about how anyone who wants to be a writer has to be willing to experience life. One must be unafraid to face down one's greatest fears and dredge up one's most hidden secrets, and that's not easy. There has to be an innate curiosity about life—what it is and what the hell are we doing here—and although it sounds paradoxical, one must, at the same time, get one's focus off of oneself, loosen one's biases, and be willing to explore other people's universes...



You know how you get really silly when you haven't slept? Nah, me either. Well, okay. I'll 'fess up. About once every other week or so, I can't sleep. I crawl into bed at 4 a.m. and then spend two hours tossing and turning, fidgeting and wiggling, trying in vain to find the perfect sleeping position, the perfect part of the pillow, the perfect amount of foot to stick out from beneath the covers. Of course, this disturbs Nettl, and then I feel like a creep...


Happy Birthday to Frederica von Stade!

From my favorite production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro,
starring my two favorite ladies of opera, von Stade as
Cherubino and Kathleen Battle as Susanna.

Visit Frederica von Stade's Website