raystrobel47: (Hank-what?!?)
Hank died Friday night. )
raystrobel47: (Default)
I got a call last week from Craig Knox, principal tuba for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is not often, nay, rare that a professional orchestral musician calls my number. It frankly reminds me of the viola joke about this guy who-.... anyway, he calls me to ask my permission. Yes, *he* needs permission from *me* to record Dans Profundo on an upcoming album of solo tuba music! Not only that, but he'll be performing it at an upcoming faculty recital next March or April!

This is an absolute thrill. It is so many feelings- validation, elation, excitement, relief, honor, and probably will be a few more before this is all over with. Mr. Knox is even going to invite me to one of the upcoming rehearsals so I can hear how it's going, chat with him and the pianist, and do all those "artsy" things that I've only imagined about, but desperately wanted to do as a composer and performer. It's not that I don't love teaching, but this was my first love, and now it's becoming even more realized.

I really need to get to finishing that orchestral project for Freestyle so I can begin my second tuba solo for John Manning. I don't want to suffer from a sophomore slump, especially with such a top-rate performer.
raystrobel47: (Default)
Howdy y'all. It's been a while.

I am relatively pleased with the progress of the elementary band so far. I am incorporating new teaching methods/tricks/tools with some success. I had my first principal's visit earlier this week and she was seemed to like what I was doing. I have been incorporating Kodály's solfege hand signs to gesture non-verbally what notes to play. I'm just starting with the first five, and am trying to get them familiar enough with them to get more flexible and even do two-part harmony, signaling different notes on each hand.

There are about 68 kids returning this year, up from 54 last year. I have, so far, 54 new kids on the roster, and have yet to finalize the roster for the third school. We might top 150 to start this year, and I'm hopeful. I'm hoping I can get more kids renting instruments. I've given more info out about that, but am still waiting for the applications to come back.

The Volkwein's music rep who's been helping me with trying kids out did me a huge favor. She left 4 boxes of reeds (2 clarinet, 2 sax) and two bottles of sterilizing spray for me to keep. That was really kind of her, and she didn't have to do it.

I have *got* to remember to bring in the flute and trombone from our house to donate. There's a cornet and trombone also making their way to Wilkinsburg, hopefully by next week.

I am still waiting on my budget requests to be ordered from one of my schools. I have been trying to get this done since school started, when I realized that two schools didn't order *anything* I'd submitted. Of course, the fact that in all three elementary schools the principals, secretaries, and heads of maintenance were switched. Rotated, as it were, and the secretaries were placed with new principals, all of them in new buildings. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that things got dropped, should I? Frustrating...

Holy cow, is this disjointed. Does it read that way? I'm out of practice. It's been really busy, I've neglected LJ for over a month, maybe two, and I'm just not writing like this that often.

It's frustrating, as I stated before. Frustrating to constantly fight for students' attention, and frustrating to not have what I need. But the support is still there, and the joy of the students' success still motivates and excites.

Let's see if I can stay more current with this.
raystrobel47: (Starfruit)
Right, I need to get back into posting exercise results. Today sucked big for pushups. Just lookie:

To do:_____Did:
14 - - - - - 14
19 - - - - - 19
14 - - - - -7
14 - - - - -6
19 or more - 5

Now, I'm not too disheartened because I'm starting the routine differently and need to adjust to doing push-ups on my knees. I will repeat this week, and technically I did day 2 because I only started Wednesday, so again, weirdness.

I also added more strength exercises. I will be doing squats and shoulder presses in the gym after my push-ups, two sets of 15 each. Maybe three sets, I'm not sure yet. After talking with the athletic director and getting some advice I think this will help a lot rounding out my strength training.
raystrobel47: (Starfruit)
It is indeed summer, and I am getting back into my exercise-at-Chatham routine. Yesterday was too hectic and I didn't get anything done, but I'm back to doing sun salutation yoga stretches and the 100 push-ups challenge. This year I'm doing all my push-ups from my knees. I will be able to do more push-ups and will be engaging my muscles for a longer period of time. For my initial test, which I did today, I did 23 knee push-ups. According to the push-up website I ought to start on week 3. I'm ok with that.

Braindump

Jun. 19th, 2010 08:59 pm
raystrobel47: (Eye)
It's funny how the universe works. The same year my dad and favorite cat die is when I get my first composition published, and performed in two different states. I've made my first presentation as a clinician at our state music educator's conference. I played in my first good paying gig in years. I've had some of my highest highs and lowest lows already, and we're not even out of June yet.

Mom and my brother went to Galveston this morning to watch the sun rise after everything was done dealing with the immediacy of my dad's death (around 3am). They visited their old house that they lived in just after returning from Germany in 1950 or 1951, I can't remember. Mom met the woman who lived there now who wants to hear her stories of Galveston and of her life.

Today Pookie and I got haircuts while out at Pittsburgh Mills. When we drove in, it was hot and ucky. We drove home in a heavy downpour, and now the sun is out and it's much nicer. We look different and the weather has changed. We all change, all the time. In every day there is death and rebirth. Something is new and something else stops. Tomorrow holds the same process, the same promise, as will every day thereafter.

That my mother is holding and has held up so well has been extremely important. Equally important is the support of my wife and daughter, without whom I would feel lost. Your prayers and reaching out to me and my family, both here and in Texas, have helped carry me across a path that I dare not wish to walk alone. I know the good Lord is watching over us all in all of this, through the connection I feel with my family and friends and through my own meditations with Him.

There is no such thing as coincidence. Where there is tragedy, there is opportunity for healing. Where there is brokenness, there is opportunity for mending. Where there is success, there is opportunity for sharing. There is opportunity in every circumstance we encounter if we wish to discover it.

I wish you all the most of your opportunities, as I try to make the most of mine. My love and sincerest thanks go out to all of you.

It's done

Jun. 19th, 2010 10:46 am
raystrobel47: (Tx bluebonnets)
Pop died early Saturday morning. His suffering is over. We are holding up ok, just understandably sad. I will miss him terribly. However, receiving so much support and caring from so many friends the past few weeks have been a true blessing. Please know that Pop had the top-notch best care available, and that Mom has plans underway and will be ok.

Louis Adolph Strobel
b. January 29, 1923
d. June 19, 2010
raystrobel47: (Tx bluebonnets)
My dad is in hospice care. He had been transferred to the new, closer alzheimer's facility/home last Friday the 11th, and everything went fine. My mom had his room all set up with personal items, furniture, and the facility provided excellent care and treatment for all the residents. On Tuesday I get a call from my mom saying that Pop had aspirated part of his breakfast that morning, and the following details I totally forget, but the result was that he had trouble breathing and was in a lot of pain. He was also exhibiting end-of-life symptoms. Mom had the option of admitting him to the hospital or putting him into hospice care. Since Mom knew that if this could happen once it probably would happen again, the decision was made to make him as comfortable as possible.

Fortunately, he is now stable, breathing freely and in no pain. Mom is by his side, and the staff at Autumn Grove are making everything as simple and easy as it can be at this difficult time. Pop is not expected to live to Father's Day. Mom has been an emotional stalwart, and has held up tremendously throughout all of this. After Pop does die, his organs and body will be donated to science, and will be cremated once returned. There will be no funeral. Mom is planning a memorial service later in the summer which will be held at her house, the house I grew up in, the house we moved into in 1974. Some of y'all have been there. :-)

Mom is at peace with this. She's ready to let go, she has been by his side, has cared for him and loved him, and knows that the time will come soon. Her faith has strengthened mightily through all of this. I am simply thankful that, despite the obvious sadness and grief that we're all experiencing, there has been so much positive that Mom has experienced, from all the first-rate medical care given to Pop, to how well Mom's handled all of this, to my brother David being able to help so crucially at times. I can honestly say there is nothing 'tragic' about this.

I'm holding up ok. I am really thankful I was able to visit last Thanksgiving. I knew there was the chance it'd be the last time I'd see him, and I got in a lot of hugs, smiles, and just being there. I have pictures on my cell and a Flip video I made. I have memories for the rest of my life. The thing is, once Dad dies, the body has simply stopped. I really haven't 'had' my Dad since this whole dementia thing started to take hold for the last couple of years. I've been mentally trying to grapple with the fact that he wouldn't be around much longer, that he wasn't invincible, and imagining what that might feel like. I'll tell you what it feels like to me- it feels like there's a physical hole, like a well, where I expect my dad to be. That will remain, but eventually I'll find my ways around it, over it, maybe even in and out of it, and it will be less scary and painful. I'm not going to be done crying for a while, but it never has been uncontrollable. This, in short, sucks. Grief is weird, and this experience is sort of surreal since I'm so bloody far away.

The outpouring of support from friends has been astounding, and I appreciate everything that those of you who've known have done or offered to do. I cannot express my gratitude in just the two words 'thank you', but that's the only tool I know right now. It has been so comforting knowing that you all are out there, from Texas to Philadelphia, from California to Buffalo. It blows me away, and comforts me. What can you do? Hugs work. Praying for my mom works too. Really, I don't need that much. I don't regret what has happened, or feel "I need by dad back", not that I wouldn't take that in a heartbeat, but I've tried to accept this as it is and keep moving on. We are mortal, we will all die. Now is my dad's time. And it makes me very sad. But as I explained to a friend, "If it didn't happen, there'd get to be a time where I'd be like, 'Ok, he's 108, this is almost ridiculous'." I'll miss my dad, but the man who truly and fully was my dad hasn't been himself for six years.

Thank you for reading, thank you for caring. It'll be ok.
raystrobel47: (Music)
Dans Profundo is now available at Cimarron Music Press!! Click on the title in the middle of the page to see a 4-page sample of the score, hear the mp3 from the 2008 recital by David Yeager, and pay only $17.99 to have it for your very own! :-D

I'm really psyched by this. I might see a royalty check this December!
raystrobel47: (OMG!)
Go to Google right now. And be prepared to stay for at least 5 - 10 minutes.
raystrobel47: (Tx flag)

visited 24 states (48%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

That's almost half. I wish I could add Iowa next month, but that'll have to wait.

Now Mom

Apr. 28th, 2010 10:04 pm
raystrobel47: (Default)
I found out from my brother today that my mother is in the hospital, after complaining about random sharp pains in her head and chest. The doctors can't find anything specifically wrong with her, and a thought is that it might have been a mild stroke. My brother supposes it is the result of accumulated stress with everything going on with my dad.

Mom's staying in the hospital tonight, having a CAT scan tomorrow, and hoping and praying that she'll be released tomorrow. Thank you all for being here, sharing thoughts and prayers.
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)
Big ol' happy birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] cyano and [livejournal.com profile] c_star!! Have great and wonderful days!
raystrobel47: (Tx flag)
I love my wife. She'd convinced me to open my birthday present early this evening, and since I was husband/daddy-napped to a surprise dinner at Sonic I thought 'sure!'. Well, she managed to get me another Texas flag. The one I've had since I was in high school, that's been hung on the wall in my dorm rooms and bachelor apartments, had been flying proudly on our flagpole for the last three years or so, also thanks to my sweetheart. Well, the time had taken its toll, and it was faded and tattered.

So I got a new one! Not just any new Texas flag, but one that's been flown at the capitol building in Austin! And that's not all!! According to the certificate, which itself is neat, this new flag was flown on March 2, which is Texas' Independence Day, y'all. How. Frickin'. Cool.

Cool enough that this flag ain't flyin' on no flagpole, nowhere, nohow. I'll get a synthetic durable flag for that purpose. This one's getting framed and displayed. :-) I love my wife.

Oh, and I would be most remiss in dismissing the beautiful card my daughter drew for me, all in purple. It was beautiful and sweet, and her name is with [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar's on the certificate, making it even more special.
raystrobel47: (Tx flag)
Happy 174th Texas' Independence Day!
raystrobel47: (Music)
Dans Profundo will be performed by John Manning at the University of Iowa on May 1, 2010, and also at the International Tuba and Euphonium Association's 2010 conference in Tuscon, Arizona on May 29!!

It's gonna get played twice!! May 1 is a Saturday... road trip??? I can't believe this is actually going to happen... so much more that I want and need to know... more details to come! Soon, I hope!
raystrobel47: (Default)
The Dockers commercial during SB 44 where the pantless guys singing "I wear no pants!" song made me think of you. Fondly, even.

Hope things are going well for you in NoPantsistan.

-Ray
raystrobel47: (Default)
Happy 41st Anniversary to my parents!

WOOOO!!!

Jan. 3rd, 2010 06:09 pm
raystrobel47: (Hou. Texans logo)
The Texans did their part. I'm even glad the Steelers won. Now it's up to KC and Oakland to do their part... if not them then Cincinnati could smack down the Jets and that would be ok with me.

I am happy with a winning record for Houston, finally. It's a shame that it should have been better, sooner, with at least three other games winnable if not for stupid last-moment turnovers or failures. However, still being in the hunt for the playoffs is better than *not* being in the hunt for the playoffs.

EDIT: Denver lost! Yay!!! Baltimore won! Boo!!!!(sorry Pittsburgh fans) C'monnnnnnnnnnn, StinkyNasty!! (aka Bungles)
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)
Happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] hearne! Have a great day, and a great weekend!

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