Music from my mom

So, for Mother’s Day the New York Times is doing this thing where people post 6-word “momoirs” about their mother. Check it out; it’s pretty cool!

I tried to write one for my mom. But the thing is, I couldn’t really do it with words. I can do it with music though. My mom is a pianist, and a piano teacher. Classical piano music was the sound of my childhood. My bedroom was directly above the music room, so there was no escaping it even if I’d wanted to. Which I didn’t. For me, the sound of a piano means comfort and security: mom is home and all’s right with the world.

Here is my mom’s favorite pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, playing one of her favorite pieces.


Childhood occupations

Ok, here’s a good prompt from a few days ago:

What occupation did you want as a child? Given what you know now as an adult (or more of one than you were), would it have been a good choice for you?

Ha ha! When we were little my sister and I both wanted, desperatedly wanted, to be grocery store cashiers. Those buttons! On the cash register! They look so fun! And those ladies punch them so fast! And then they punch that big button and the cash drawer comes out — ding! — and you get to count out the money and give back the change! Yes we had a toy cash register and we played grocery store all the time.

I’ve never worked in a grocery store, and it’s a lucky thing I didn’t choose that for my life’s career because now they all have those swipe things. However, I temped in a piano store for a week once, and I got to work the register. Mostly people just came in to buy sheet music, but one person did actually buy a piano while I was there. I got to punch in $17,000. Woo hoo!

* * *

My sister and I also used to play waitress a lot. That seemed like a fun job too. Because you get a cool pad of paper and a small little pencil that you keep in your apron pocket! And you get to write down the orders! How fun is that?!?

I’ve never worked in food service either. Waitress is actually a way worse match for my personality than grocery store cashier would have been. I could not, could not, make myself smile and be nice for tips. I cannot say the word “sir” unless I am being sarcastic. I know that I am overly quick to perceive others as being patronizing, and I bristle more than I should when I feel I am being condescended to. But there it is. I just couldn’t do it.

I had an interesting conversation with my son about this the other day. He told me that a friend of his said that it is bad form to say please or can I have to the waitstaff when you’re ordering. A simple I’ll have is preferable since it takes away any hint of condescension. You are there to eat and they are there to bring the food, and everyone knows it, so why pretend they are doing you a favor?

What will change now that Osama is gone?

Shit. I promised myself that today I would answer the daily prompt no matter what it was. And then I looked to see what it was, and ugh.

I don’t have very good luck with predicting things of this nature. After 9/11 I was actually excited. I thought wow. Things are really gonna change around here. This country is going to be united. We’re gonna do great things. We’re gonna solve global warming. We’re gonna end terrorism and fix the Middle East problems for once and for all.


So although I would like to believe that Osama’s death will bring about world peace and Obama’s re-election, I’ve been disappointed and disillusioned too many times. I don’t think his death is going to accomplish much of anything. Plus ça change, and all that.

I think this situation calls for a cute kitten pic. Notice how our clever girl is going after both my husband’s foot and the tip of her own tail in one fell swoop.

Sunday morning music

So, I spent the whole morning listening to Bach Motets on repeat play. Just like I did last Sunday, and the Sunday before that, and the Sunday before that… I have been listening to Bach Motets on Sunday mornings for ever.

J.S. Bach wrote tons of choral music. He wrote masses and passions, oratorios and cantatas, and they are all gorgeous. But for some reason I find the motets more accessible. I mean, listening to the B minor Mass feels like a project. It would be sacrilegious to, say, wash the dishes with that on in the background, you know? (I am nominally Jewish, and I participate in no organized religion whatsoever. Even so.) But the motets, the motets, I dunno. They are so incredibly beautiful, and it feels permissible to just put them on repeat play and go about your business. Not just permissible, but right and proper and totally uplifting. In fact I recommend these not just on Sundays but any day of the week.