Sunday, June 22, 2014

Running on Empty . . .

It's been a little crazy around here for the last month or so . . .

My first piping competition was May 17th and you read how much fun that was  :-) 

The second competition was May 25 at the Alma, Michigan games.  I had to play both my marches there - and they were both train wrecks.  Again.  And it was hot.  Really hot.  And I had to play for the same judge I flamed out in front of the week before at Springfield.  (Pretty sure he thinks I'm talentless.  Oh well.)  I made a couple of mistakes on my Piobaireachd, but placed fourth in my grade, so was really happy for that, and the judge's comments were really encouraging. 

Once again - mistakes in my tunes were my main downfall - and that all comes back to memorization. 

The next two weekends were taken up with African violet-related events.  First, the national convention, which was held in Nashville this year, and then the next weekend, the Illinois state show, which was held in Urbana.  That event marked the last of my responsibilities with IAVS.  I stepped down as newsletter editor in November of last year, and now am no longer the vice president of the organization.  It's best for me - I really needed a break there.

Then I went to piping school this last week.  The Midwest Pipe Band Association sponsored a school.  Ken "The Captain" Eller was the piping instructor and Doug Stronach was the drumming instructor. I suppose it wasn't the best for the Association because the enrollment was low, but it was wonderful for the students because there were only three pipers and three drummers.  It was amazing - pretty much like getting private tuition for the whole week from Ken Eller. Wow! 

I can't believe how fast the week went.  Interestingly enough, I was the most advanced piper, which is quite a switch for me.  I learned so much from Ken - and interestingly enough, a lot of it was stuff I knew from my teacher, Ian, but hadn't been able to internalize yet for whatever reason.  It clearly seems to make a difference to have in-person face time with your instructor.  I'm looking forward to some of that in July when I attend Ian's school, Piping in Paradise.

I was very tired by the end of the week, and it didn't help that I tripped on Tuesday, going into the parking structure on campus and fell over.  I thought my hand (my dominant hand) was broken - it hurt so terribly, but thankfully it was only a sprain and I'm left with this horrible bruise.  I was still able to compete on Saturday, and it only hurts when I move it a certain way - so I'm not moving it that way  :-D


And speaking of competing yesterday  - I played both my marches the best I have ever played them!  Yay me!!  I can say with confidence that they were NOT train wrecks this time, and my score sheets moved up in level from one to two, so that made me really happy and was a great accomplishment!!

My Piobaireachd has gone pretty well all three times.  Best the first time, in Springfield, where I medalled in 2nd place, but I placed fourth in Alma (made some mistakes I didn't make in Springfield  :-S), and 6th on Saturday at the Chicago Games.  I think I might have placed a little higher on Saturday, except that I lost both my tenor drones.  I have no idea why and will have to ask Ian about it.  I heard the middle tenor pop part way through the Ground, and then the outside tenor went at the First Variation.  I panicked, but I kept playing.  I didn't know if there was a way to get them to cut back in - I tried easing up on the bag, but that was going to cause another problem, so I just kept going with only my bass drone.  If you quit, you're marked as "BD" which means "broke down," and I didn't want to do that - you're supposed to just plow through however you can if something goes wrong, so I did.  I didn't expect to get anything after that, so was quite thrilled to place 6th, bruised hand, no tenors, and all  :-D

It was nice to feel like I am finally making some progress with these marches  :-) 

Today was a total recovery day - in my jams and curled up in the sunroom most of the day - I really felt like I was on empty, that's for sure.  But I'll be ready to go back to work tomorrow and get back into the rhythm of my regular life.  Food-wise, that will be a relief.  We ate in the college cafeteria this past week, and when you're at the Highland Games, it's pretty much the law that you have to eat some Scottish junk food and drink a beer and a cider or two  :-D   Let's just say that the food choices this week were not ideal and I didn't make the best ones . . . My focus for the rest of the summer is getting smaller again.  I can no longer blame the extra pounds on what my friend, Linda the Chicken Lady called the "Soul-Sucking" Winter that we had.  The chill has lingered far into the spring.  And speaking of Linda the Chicken Lady, I'm sure going to miss her when she moves to California later this year.

Alrighty then, time to look for something for a late dinner, and figure out what my Monday is going to look like.  This recovery day went a long way toward recharging my running on empty body :-)