Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sometimes It's The Hard Thing

I was driving to work this morning, and as I  have been trying to do during Lent, I was saying the Rosary.  Being Tuesday, I started on the Sorrowful Mysteries.  For those that are not Catholic, the Sorrowful Mysteries are:

  • the Agony in the Garden
  • the Scourging at the Pillar
  • the Crowning of Thorns
  • Jesus carries His Cross
  • The Passion and Death of the Lord
As I started, the thought came to mind.. " I don't want this.  Lord, I don't want to do the Sorrowful Mysteries.  Can't I do the Joyful ones?  I want something happy today."

And... that's the point, isn't it?  Jesus would have liked to skip the sorrowful ones too!  He asked the Father for that.  But it was not to be.

My lesson (reminder) for the day... sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes we have to do the hard thing.  Jesus didn't promise us we wouldn't have hard times (quite the opposite, despite what some preachers say!).  He DID promise us that He'd be with us, and he sent us the Spirit to get us through.  So... a good lesson to renew commitments and keep on keeping on.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

4th Anniversary

I drove down to Tucson after work today for Schola rehearsal (we are singing for Good Friday).  I took the Miata, since my Ford is in the shop still.  Normally I don't drive the Miata such long distances -- I have easily doubled the number of miles I drive in a year with this trip :-).

Today is also the 4th anniversary of my Dad's death.  Driving the Miata (it was his car) always makes me feel close to him.  Even though it wasn't on a fun, curvy road, it still was nice.

Miss you, Dad.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


I was in Tucson today for a concert by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra . My friend Julie was kind enough to give me one of her comps, and her company when she wasn't playing/busy.

It was a great concert!  Some Walton, some Ravel, and the Faure Requiem, among other things.  I was struck by the connections I had:
  • My friend Julie plays with them.  A couple of Sinfonian brothers also sometimes play with them, but weren't there today.
  • I bumped into my stepfather at the concert! (his wife plays with them).
  • I saw my friends Erica and DeWayne (they were singing in the chorus).
  • The piano soloist for the Ravel is a student of our accompanist at SSPP.
  • My friend Yelena (who I met at SSPP when she was our accompanist) is going to be their guest artist in November for the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concert (it and she are both amazing).
It's very heartwarming to realize even though I left Tucson 11 (!) years ago I still have these connections.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Madison's Funeral

I see that I did not comment here on my friend Madison's Defler's illness.  Sadly, she passed away Saturday January 14th.  She was 20.  She was diagnosed in November 2015 with a rhabdomyosarcoma behind her right eye.  She went through chemo and radiation and in August 2016 was declared cancer-free.  Her family and friends rejoiced.

Sadly, 6 weeks or so later followup scans showed the cancer was back, in her brain and spine.  She underwent more chemo and other therapies but this time the results were only good for a time, but the overall trend was bad.  She finally succumbed this Saturday, in the presence of her family and some close friends.

I got the word Saturday night and while I guess I was not actually surprised, it hit me very hard.  I've known Madison since she was 10 or so -- we met at Sherwood, of course.  We spent a lot of time together on the ice and I got to see her grow from a spunky, sweet young girl into a smart, talented, hardworking, beautiful, and still spunky young woman.  She had graduated in June 2015 and had started college at Chapman University, pledging the Delta Delta Delta sorority.  Shortly after she got her diagnosis.

I flew up to Portland Wednesday night and attended the memorial service at her synagogue (Shaarie Torah), then the graveside service.  I had never attended a Jewish funeral.  It was beautiful, but hard. So many skating family were there, though, including coaches Ikaika, Shannon, Krissy, Sonya and Kelli, Zena and Emmy, Karly and her mom, Sierra, Kris C., Casey and her parents, Aziza and her mom, and so many more.  It helped a lot.

My heart goes out to the Defler family and all her family and friends.  She will be missed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Midwest Trip

Last week I had a whole week off to visit family and friends, and participate in some Fraternity stuff.

I flew out of Phoenix on Saturday 7/2, on Southwest nonstop to Indianapolis.  Got in a little late, picked up my rental car and headed north.  I stopped for the night in lovely Plymouth, Indiana, a small town that is reasonably charming.  Had a nice dinner and looked around a bit -- lovely old homes near downtown.

The next morning I headed north to South Bend and took some time to look at the Notre Dame campus and especially to visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  It's gorgeous!  As I'm still gimpy, walking around campus even to the limited extent that I did was probably not too smart.  I did enjoy it though.  The contrast between the beautiful campus and South Bend was stark -- the town is not the best and seems to be suffering.

After my visit I drove to Ann Arbor and stayed with my cousin Mary and her husband, along with their kids and my aunt and uncle.  We had a cookout that night, then for the 4th more swimming, eating, and hanging out.  My cousin Joe came down from Detroit for the occasion, and my cousins Mark and Martha were there with their spouses and children so it was quite the gathering.  I've always envied the closeness the Rogers clan have -- it's pretty awesome.

Tuesday was a quiet day; I went to noon Mass with my uncle Art at St. Thomas, then came back and hung out for the rest of the day.

Wednesday morning I said my goodbyes and headed back to Indianapolis.  While there weren't any "big activities" during my stay, I really enjoyed it.  With my broken ankle  I wasn't really up to such things, and anyway I really just wanted to spend time with family, which I got to do in spades.  I can't say enough how much I enjoyed my visit.

I got down to Indy around 4:45 and went to my friend Julia's house.  I had not seen her or her husband Todd since their wedding in 2013 (I was gimpy then too!). Since then they've moved into a beyoootiful new house and have an amazingly cute daughter Katie.  We had a great visit (amazing dinner!) and wonderful conversation.

Thursday morning I hit the road for Evansville.  I-69 does not run all the way from Indy to Evansville, there is a pretty substantial gap between the Indy and the end of the freeway.  So Siri took me on a rather "interesting" trip through central Indiana.  All worked well, though and I arrived at Lyrecrest (headquarters for Phi Mu Alpha) an hour earlier than expected -- southwest Indiana, as it turns out, is on Central time, not Eastern, so I gained an hour.

I spent the next several days attending our Province Governors Convocation.  This is an annual gathering of the Fraternity's PGs and deputy PGs.  We learned a lot of good info but the most important was just time to bond as a group and share stories and experiences.  I learned a lot of good stuff which I will take back to my province.  All in all I'm convinced that we are on the right track in my Province.  There is a lot to do, though!

Sunday morning we wrapped up our Convocation and after some extended conversations it was time to head back to Indy.  I hit the road (I took a different route) and got to the airport with plenty of time before my 9 p.m. flight.  After an uneventful flight I got to Phoenix, hopped in a cab, and a few minutes (and $46) later I was home, tired but happy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gimpy Again

I broke my left ankle last week during my power skating lesson.  Gaaah!

I know in the great scheme of things, it could have been far, far worse.  For one thing, I tucked my head so I didn't whack it. That's awesome, because I'd rather have a broken bone than a concussion.  And while having a fractured fibula is no fun (but love the alliteration :-) ) at least it's not weightbearing.  A fractured tibia would have been a real problem.  As it is I'm off the ice for 4- 6 weeks, probably, so I'll have a wasted summer as far as skating and getting things done :-(.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Ralph Vaughan Williams "Dona Nobis Pacem"

Tonight I drove down to Tucson after work to attend a concert of the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Choir and Symphonic Choir performing Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Dona Nobis Pacem."  My friend Mikey (Miguel) sat with me and was nice enough to get me a free ticket!

It was a wonderful concert!  The soloists (esp. the baritone) were really good, and the choirs and orchestra did a great job.  I had not heard this live since I performed it with the Ventura County Master Chorale back when I lived in Oxnard so many years ago.  It is not performed often, which is a shame.

I was especially struck, as I had not been when I was performing, by the "story" aspect of the piece.  As an audience member I could experience and appreciate interplay between the soloists and the orchestra and choir to convey such a depth of meaning.  It was just beautiful and I couldn't help but cry.  I'm so glad I made time to go.

Monday, May 02, 2016


I was up in northern Arizona this weekend.  I drove up to Flagstaff Saturday afternoon and had a chance to hang out with my friend Katie.  She's a FOCUS missionary at NAU.  She's done a great job there but her time is short as she will be leaving at the end of the semester.

Saturday evening was Kappa Xi chapter's initiation ritual.  It was pretty good and their new guys are really terrific.  Of course it was a very late night and I didn't get to bed until like 3!  And of course it snowed... it seems like it almost always snows when I'm up there for initiation.  Just an inch or 2 and it was gone in the a.m. so that was okay.

Sunday I stopped off on my way home to tour Arcosanti. I had driven by so many times but never had a chance to visit, so I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity.  I got there just in time for the 1 p.m. tour.

It's ... interesting.  Soleri's vision of a different way to design a city is still a long way from any kind of completion.  It's been a work in progress for over 40 years and I think it will always be that, actually.  That's not such a bad thing, though perhaps it's different from what the original hype was and/or what Soleri and others thought would happen.  As a place to prototype and experiment with different "city technologies" it can do a lot.  I don't really foresee it ever being a "real" city but that's doesn't mean it's a failure.

Monday, April 25, 2016


A lot of fraternity stuff the last couple of days... and a goodbye.

Saturday morning was a gathering to remember our good friend Tawnya who passed away in December.  I knew Tawnya through skating, but she was a woman of many, many talents and interests.  She was a cancer survivor for many years but alas the cancer came back and she lost her fight.  Seeing the broad spectrum of friends and family that came out to remember her and the breadth of her interests and involvement, it was more clear than ever what a loss this was to so many.  Rest in peace Tawnya.

Saturday afternoon and evening was spent in Tucson for the Alpha Upsilon chapter's initiation.  They had 9 guys enter.  A good turnout, including 2 brothers from Iota Phi (UNM) who made the trip.  A wonderful evening.

Sunday I had dinner with another brother, and we wound up meeting with Province 35's Commission on Standards representative, who was in town to visit family.  The COS is in charge (among other things) of overseeing colonies as they work to become full-fledged chapters of Phi Mu Alpha.  We had a nice dinner and a good conversation.

Tonight I had a rehearsal for our upcoming (Thursday!) concert of the Honegger King David.  Afterwards I stopped off to visit the Kappa Nu colony at their last regular meeting for the year.  After the business was done, they had an impromptu jam session. Watching them having fun making music together and just being sociable, I was really joyous at the effect that Sinfonia is having on their lives.  As I told them, a year ago they were just some guys who knew each other a little.  Now they are a SOMETHING.  An entity, a group with a purpose.  They have come so far!  And seeing them tonight I know that they are going to make it, because they "get it." They are beginning to understand what it is to be a Sinfonian.  Now, we just need to make it official.