This was a busy weekend for me. Despite still recovering from yet another cold (what’s going on this year???), I performed for a group of children and youth in San Francisco on Friday. PB&JAMM is a program for children in the underserved community living mainly in the Tenderloin, 6th & Folsom Street areas and the Mission District in San Francisco. I was invited to speak and perform for the kids by singer/songwriter Carmen Gonzalez , host of blogtalkradio’s “Women (and Legends) who really rock”. The kids were really sweet and enjoyed my performance. I took some time off for myself Friday night (except for 2 hours to practice for my Saturday gigs).
Saturday morning, I taught students, and then drove to the South Bay to play for a wedding. A pianist friend of mine had an accident and ended up with a hairline fracture. Fortunately, she’ll be able to recover, but her doctor warned her not to play for 2 months! A week before the wedding, she called me to substitute for her. Turns out I was available, and gladly stepped in to her help out. The wedding was in Santa Clara, but the ceremony was outdoors in Los Gatos. So, after teaching, I had to drive to Los Gatos, set up my keyboard, microphone and amp, and then drive to Santa Clara to play the piano in a church. Once I arrived at the Los Gatos location, I noticed that the clouds above were gaining in density, implying rain. I was not at all comfortable with the idea of leaving my keyboard potentially exposed to rain, so I set up just the stands and my seat, certain that I’d be able to set up the electronics quickly upon my return.
The wedding was beautiful, filled with all the joys one hopes to observe from my seat as wedding pianist. The wedding party and guests all seemed quite pleased with my performance, and offered lovely feedback. As soon as I finished the recessional, I jumped in the car and drove to Los Gatos, hoping to arrive just enough ahead of the guests so I’d be playing as they entered. Suddenly, my windshield was splashed with a short spurt of, yep, rain! Uh-oh! I did a little sunshine dance behind the steering wheel, praying for the rain clouds to disperse. I arrived at the reception site to find the back gate (where I had set up) locked. Uh-oh! Luckily, one of the caters happened by and was able to open the gate so I could drag in my keyboard. The clouds, still heavy, seemed to be moving slightly. Keyboard still in case, I walked back to my car to find parking.
Parking was tight. There were apparently 3 other events being held in the area, and the lot was filled to capacity. Uh-oh. No worries! I did a little parking shimmy behind the wheel (I do dance a lot in my car), and drove around optimistic. And around. And … “excuse me, are you leaving?” No. And around. Still optimistic. And around. And…upon spotting a wedding guest “excuse me, could you please go inside and ask the caterer if there’s a reserved parking space for the pianist?” Of course, my keyboard is sitting outside, still in its case, not set up at all. The guest replied “sure, no problem”. Still optimistic. And…wait! There’s a couple. “Excuse me, are you walking to a car”. “Why yes”, they replied. “Right here”, which happened to be directly across from the entrance to the reception area. Perrrrrrfect! Big smile on my face…
So, I was able to jump out of my ideally-parked car (I have superb parking kharma!), and whisked my keyboard setup into place, beginning to play just as most guests were arriving. Everyone enjoyed the music, and as I played and sang, the sun came out, casting lovely light upon the afternoon. Ah…
I finished my performance, jumped back in the car and headed to my friend’s studio in Campbell for a quick minute, then off to my gig in Danville, arriving just in the nick of time to play and sing. I was starting to feel pretty lousy, thanks to my cold, but my friends Michael, Evie and Chris came out to hear me play, and their wonderful energy perked me up. I wasn’t in my best voice, but considering that I’d lost my voice completely on Tuesday, I can’t complain. I try not to anyway. But after finishing the gig, getting home and in the bed at 1:30am, when my alarm rang at 5am, I was having a hard time not complaining!
My niece Naomi had been selected to participate in Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG CHALLENGE event in San Jose. Naomi was one of several childhood cancer survivors being taking around the event course in pedi-cabs, but we had to BE THERE at 6:30am. Ouch! These kids are the stars of the show. They have endured pain and faced mortality in ways that would give the toughest adults pause. Naomi requested that her big brother, 8 year old Jeremiah, and I, her Auntie, ride with her. We jumped and were chauffeured by our gracious pedi-cab rider, Rene. At the children’s request, Rene put on the speed and pedaled as fast as she could! It was a lovely day but after helping with the kids and a disabled family friend all day, but 9pm, I was spent!
Naomi, Jeremiah and Rene:
But alas, my alarm again sounded at an un-Godly hour: 5:45am. Why? Today, Monday, was Naomi’s bi-monthly oncology appointment. Everything went great, but we had to be at the hospital at 7:30am! Ouch! Today, it’s back to teaching and my “normal” schedule, but despite the fatigue, it was a good weekend!
Naomi with her Nurse Practitioner: