Monday, January 31, 2011

Under the Weather

Almost literally. I feel like it’s sitting on me.

Just as winter began to step up and we got more rain (yay!) and wind, I started to feel a bit out of focus. Then, yesterday at work, I started to get the feeling that I always get when my temperature begins to climb. Oh, great, I thought. Here comes the flu. I don’t have time to be sick. But germs wait for no woman, it seems.

I headed home, took my temperature (which was normal, strangely enough) and called my doctor. Even though her schedule was full, someone cancelled an appointment yesterday evening, so she slipped me in.

Diagnosis: not the flu, thank goodness. I have a sinus infection. My bronchial tubes are also involved. I’m currently on antibiotics and two (!) inhalers, with strict orders not to stir out of doors until Wednesday. Don’t go from one temperature extreme to the other, my doctor said. No going from hot to cold or vice versa. When I asked my doctor whether I was contagious, her answer was an unequivocal yes. She also explained that this type of infection can make people feel feverish even when they’re not.

It’s taken me more than the usual effort to write this post. I feel like my head is encased in wet cotton wool. (In fact, one of the things I told my doctor on the phone yesterday was, “I want my head back!” It made her laugh.) This is such a drag. I want it gone. Now.

But my doctor says that it will take its sweet time leaving. In the meantime, keep on dosing and lots of fluids and rest. Sigh. Think I’ll go make myself another cup of tea.

I hate being sick.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Hearing My Music

When I recorded Day of Rest back in the spring of 2000, I sang all the tracks, melody and harmony, myself. Not only was it fun to sing all the parts, building each song line by vocal line, but there were also practical reasons. Where would I find a small chamber choir and the time to train them? Not to mention the question of how I would pay them all.

Several years ago, after “Day of Rest” had been out for some time, I reconnected with an old friend from high school. Both he and his wife are accomplished musicians. It turns out that in addition to her many other skills, his wife is an amazing choral director as well. When I met them in Israel before their aliya, I gave them a copy of “Day of Rest,” never dreaming what would happen next.

My friend’s wife – now my friend as well – contacted me recently and asked for permission to use three of my arrangements for a choral performance at a local school that she was directing. I agreed. Tonight, I attended the performance. For the first time in my life, I heard my arrangements through the prism of my friend’s impeccable musicianship, sung by the lovely and gifted young women of her choir.

Before the choral part of the performance began, my friend announced that the arranger of three of the pieces that her choir was about to sing was present and that she would introduce her later on. In the meantime, said my friend, you can guess where the arranger is. She could be anywhere in this room. Could she be sitting next to you?

If the room hadn’t been so dark, it would have been easy to spot me once the choir began to sing the first of the three songs I had arranged. I was the one sitting there smiling, singing softly... and fighting back tears.