Back in the Swing

6/4/2011 Saturday 9:39 am

Glenda and I just returned, Thursday, from visiting my Dad and Stepmom in Sedona, Arizona.  It was a marvelous trip.  Dad and Vicky have created a gorgeous sanctuary, and it’s one of those places I can go to feel rejuvenated, at peace, cared for, happy…  My grandmother, Jackie – who is 90 this year, lives up in Flagstaff and we made several trips to see her as well.  She’s not been terrific lately, but each of the three days we saw her she seemed to be getting a little stronger and on the third day I was able to bring my guitar and play a few tunes.  I played three tunes to be exact, after the first she said it was “pretty good”!  The second was “not bad”.  And the third, which she actually hummed along with, was back to “pretty good”!

We returned Thursday at 5:30, grabbed our veggies from the CSA we belong to at the Burnet Road Farmer’s Market, changed, and arrived at Uchiko by 7PM for dinner with our dear friends Gordon and Charmaine McGill.  For dessert we order this amazing concoction that including a berry-sorbet that had been dipped in liquid nitrogen and came out steaming-cold.  It was presented at our table by superstar chef and Uchi/Uchiko owner Tyson Cole himself!

Friday was a whirlwind.  After tennis early with my partner Mike.  I had an interview at 10 with Forrest Preece for a profile in West Austin News, then it was a shot over to Hoovers (not the restaurant) where I played an employee outreach concert and promoted our Latin Summer Series.  Then I had a fabulous 2PM taco lunch with an old student, Thales Smith, who has just completed his first year at UT as a guitar and plan 2 honors student.  He seems to be thriving and I’m super happy for him.  Thales won the 2006 youth division of the Guitar Foundation of American (GFA) International Competition and has gone on to do amazing things.  We went to Taco Deli’s new-ish location on Burnet Road next to Houndstooth (and Uchiko) where Taco Deli co-owner Eric Wilkerson happened to be there.  Eric had helped us out last summer when we hosted GFA in Austin and it was great to visit with him too!

Then it was phone catch up time: ACGS staff, a call with Barry and Gerald from from Jackson Mississippi who were looking for advice on starting a new arts nonprofit organization, several prospective students including the mother of a truly remarkable three-year-old boy who I’ll be seeing very soon.  And finally, after a nap, Glenda and I headed out to Mirabelle for dinner with my mentor Adam Holzman and his wife Carolyn.  Nothing there but big smiles and laughs for about 3 hours!

Here are some recent pics beginning before our trip out west:

Here we are with Ken Lewin and a small film crew in Bob Duke's office. This was before my trip to Arizona. Bob is one of my heroes, and he is a great mentor. He's a brilliant music educator, he founded the UT Center for Music and Human Learning, he wrote a magnificent book called "Intelligent Music Teaching", and he was kind of enough to sit and allow us to film several lengthy statements about quality music teaching for our giant ACGS Online Teaching Program project.

Also before our trip, we managed to catch up with our friends from the Miro Quartet, Daniel Ching and Sandy Yamamoto for dinner and a movie at their place. Glenda decided it was time for us to make an enormous Creme Brulee - to which everyone readily agreed. Here is a shot of Daniel's hands presenting the finished product!

Also before our trip, here's Joe WIlliams. He and I met at Houndstooth for coffee (where else?). We had big things to talk about including the piece we're commissioning him to write for Miro Quartet and massive inter-state guitar orchestra conducted by Peter Bay for our giant Austin Pictures project on October 1st (!) as well as a soon-to-be-announced new appointment for Joe at ACGS.

Here's Glenda on our hike up Boynton Canyon in Sedona last week. Big hike! Took us something like 3.5 hours. Absolutely gorgeous.

And here I am on the hike as well. We've just reached the top! One of the more exciting moments of the hike was when I nearly stepped on a big rattle snake. I've never seen one up close before. He rattled at me a bit (otherwise I wouldn't have known it was there!). And when I looked down I saw that it's tail was about two feet from my right foot. We scampered away and turned to watch it slowly slither away from the path. Oooo.

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