Tag Archive | music

Festival Express

The summer is completely zipping by! It’s been a full 4 weeks since my “retirement” and I wonder how I ever found time to work. It feels like I’ve been gone even longer than 4 weeks and my life is as full as ever. The list of household projects sits barely touched, with only one room (my son’s) having been ripped apart thus far. At this point, I think most of it will have to wait until school starts at the end of August.

Yesterday was one of those very full days… a fun day of festivals (“fests”).

The day started with “Elite Fest”. This was a health-focused event at the fitness center (Elite Fitness, hence the name) where my step-daughter is a personal trainer. This event started at 10:00 a.m. with an hour-long metabolic workout. Ethan and I participated and  both thought we would die about half-way through — but we were proud of ourselves for having completed the challenge and doing ALL the exercises!  We did exercises on equipment that I didn’t even know existed!  (TRX machine… air assault…?) There were also contests and a relay race, but I was pretty much done by that point. The event ended with a super healthy lunch with lots of veggies and whole grains! I am a little sore today, but in all, I really enjoyed the work out.

After running home to shower — and drink another large coffee (I was exhausted!)… we were off to “Jazz Fest”.  This was the 13th annual Jazz Festival in Scranton and my son was participating. Ethan had a prior gig Friday night where he was allowed to play with the professionals at a coffee shop. I was so proud of him stepping out of his comfort zone, sight reading and improv’ing on his trombone.  Yesterday was the official event where the students of Marywood University’s Camp Crescendo were the opening act of the evening’s performances. Ethan had two improv solos during two of the pieces and I was one proud momma (complete with tears in my eyes). He did fantastic and I’m so glad we opted for this camp this year.

Following the concert we were off to “Corn Fest”!  (Seriously… these are the legit names!)  Friends of ours have an annual party, complete with lots of corn cooked on the fire and free-flowing adult beverages!  It’s always a great time and this year was especially nice, because I got to see so many of my (former) co-worker friends. It’s nice to be missed and all the hugs made me feel loved!

The night had one last stop… to drop Ethan off at a camp-out at a friend’s house. I’m not sure how he still had the energy to stay up late, but I guess that’s the benefit of youth.

So here’s to a great day of celebrating fitness, music and friends! May we have many more festivals to celebrate in our future!

IMDb: Festival Express (2003)


The Sound of Music

I have really just not been able to find time to write as much as I would like these past few months. The crazy schedule continues and am just praying for a little bit of normalcy. That’s probably wishful thinking as June, July, and August look just as crazy.

On a good note, however, the college reunion I was working on went off without a hitch. It was so great to see everyone and 30 years was like yesterday when reuniting with old friends. I even made a bunch of new friends from other classes. There were 24 music grads and professors in attendance… about 35 people in total for our affinity group… and we represented 5 decades!  It was a blast and worth all the time and energy I had put into it.  It was so much fun re-living our music major days and we even got to play and sing at a church service in the afternoon.

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The love and laughter of the weekend really warmed my heart.  And I know it’s good for my health!  I even had my own built-in music therapy with Ethan’s piano recital on Sunday and band practice on Monday!  A few more rehearsals and a few concerts for the summer and then a break…


I’ve discovered a new group on Facebook that I’m really enjoying “PB&J… Plant Based Junkies”. It’s a wonderful support group where people ask specific questions and get the collective wisdom of hundreds of more experienced whole-food plant based eaters. I highly recommend it for those of you who are trying to do plant-based diets. Many of the participants follow the McDougall diet, and I’m learning so much from them. On occasion, I even find I can contribute to the conversation!  There’s also a website: http://www.plantbasedjunkies.com/ (I bought myself some cool tee shirts… can’t wait for them to arrive!)


IMDb: The Sound of Music (1965)


They All Laughed

The end of this month I will be celebrating my 30th college reunion. As part of Alumni Weekend, I have been helping to coordinate a reunion of music grads from all graduating years. It’s been great fun reconnecting with everyone and I can’t wait to see former classmates and professors, as well as dear friends I have kept in touch with over the years.

As part of the reunion weekend, there will be a Mass and a few of us flutists are “getting the band back together”, as in a flute ensemble.  Yesterday I met up with two fellow music grads to rehearse some of the music and it was hard to believe 30 years had passed.  It was like those 30 years had passed in the blink of an eye.  We picked right up where we left off in both conversation, camaraderie, and musicianship. Granted, we may not be quite as good as we once were (after all, we aren’t practicing for hours a day), but after 30 years, we sounded pretty damn good!

After a nice rehearsal, my friend Cheryl and I enjoyed breakfast, a long talk, some tears and lots of laughs.  You know the kind of laughs I mean…the silly, giggling, uncontrollable laugh til you cry kind of laugh.  The kind where you would snort milk out your nose (assuming we still drank milk). The kind where your shoulders just shake uncontrollably and people start to stare, as you just relive all those great times you shared together.

The reunion is in two weeks and I know it’s just going to be a whole day of that! They say laughter is the best medicine and I’m looking for some large doses!


Cheryl, my friend, thank you, as ever, for your caring, your friendship, your wit and sarcasm, and for making me laugh!


IMDb: They All Laughed (1981)

And The Band Played On

In my younger days, music was a central part of my life.  I started playing the flute 41 years ago (ugh, that makes me seem SO old!) and eventually went on to get a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy.  In high school, band really was my life.  I spent every spare moment in the band room, holding various positions with multiple responsibilities, and it’s partly where I learned the leadership skills I use today.  I organized the library of music, helped write the shows we would perform at football games, had responsibility for band uniforms, and taught marching each summer.  Music theory was my favorite class, and I loved the camaraderie of being part of the band.  I looked for every opportunity to play my flute, joining Crystal Band, playing at church, and playing with various college ensembles.  And much to the dismay of my family, I practiced all the time.

But time tends to take us away from the things we love.  Work, family, house, and loads of responsibilities distract us.  And other than the wedding I played back in August, I have not played my flute in years.  Yep, I’m a bit rusty.

So it is with great excitement that, in the name of moving on with life and doing something I love, I have joined the Crystal Band for the third time.  The first time was in the late 70s, and then the mid 90s, so every 20 years or so!  Making the return was extra special because I got to share it with Ethan, on trombone, and my niece, Marissa, also on flute.  It felt so good to play again, to be surrounded by music, to come together as an ensemble.  It was challenging and fun.  And I think I player pretty well, if I do say so myself.  (Except for that really fast part in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas…)  Even Ethan was moved by the experience!  I can’t wait to go back!   (Of course, I need to miss next week already because of work travel, but that’s ok.)

So get out there and do something you love!  🙂


Lemon & Spinach Pesto Pasta by Leslie Durso
xcellent!!  The recipe was easy… pretty much everything into the food processor and then pour over the pasta.  Ethan even tried it and was instantly hooked!  This will make it into the recipe rotation for sure, especially on nights I need something quick.

Celery Salad with Olives from The China Study Cookbook
I enjoyed this one, although I’m still getting used to the taste of vegan mayo.  I loved the tang added by the olives.  Hmmmm… olives! (Note: I won’t publish recipes from books, if it isn’t readily available on the Internet, as I don’t think it’s fair to the author. )


And the Band Played On (1993) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106273/