Friday, January 28, 2011

Probably unnecessary anxiety

After reading about roof collapses caused by accumulated snow, I find myself a bit nervous about standing under the snow-laden glass ceiling at Forest Hills.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Non-automated Red Line announcements also better

While pulling into Park Street: "Please take your newspapers, coffee cups, coats, hats, gloves, cats, dogs, kids, sofas, chairs AND tables."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Small person dialogue

The following exchange occurred between my six-year-old student and her three-year-old brother:

Brother, who had just been explaining their cat to me: You have to pay 'tention!
Student: Who, me?
Brother: No, Kitty*!
Student: Pay attention to what?
Brother: To Kitty!
Student: So...Kitty has to pay attention to Kitty? That doesn't even make sense.
Brother: ...oh.

*Not Cat's Real Name

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thanks, but...

Dear well-intentioned sir:

Although I appreciate your concern in pulling up next to me and asking me to roll down my window so you could say, "That's dangerous, you'll want to clear the rest of the snow from your brake lights," I can't help but feel oddly snubbed by such advice coming from a middle-aged man driving a clean and shiny Lexus which has probably never spent a night outside in its life.

Also, the brake lights were only slightly obscured, and the top one was totally clear.

On the other hand:

Dear youngish chick who drives a car of the same make, model and uncommon color as ours,

Thanks for the peace sign! I tried to return it, but it doesn't really work with mittens.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dearest Boston Weather

1) I know how to dress for warmth, but I don't think I own enough clothing, even if I wore everything at once, to be warm enough to busk when the high is 11. Farenheit.

2) More snow Wednesday? Srsly? I have recitals on Saturday, you know, and I'd really like to see my students before then.

Last Wednesday, my 20-minute-in-traffic bus ride to Brookline Village took 45 minutes. This should still have been OK; I allowed extra time. But then I waited for 30 minutes for a D Line train. First one that went by ran express. Second and third, too full to get on. I gave up, called and made my apologies to my student's family and headed to the little convenience store in Brookline Village.

In the time taken by the phone call, the walk to the store and purchase of a 2-liter of Diet Coke, four...FOUR...more trains went by.

This made a total of seven trolleys in ten minutes, after 30 minutes of nuthin'. WTF, D Line. The T owes me payment for a 45-minute lesson. (Because that will TOTALLY HAPPEN.)

All that said, however, I have great faith in my students' abilities to prepare for this recital.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The Orange Line. The Orange Line. The Orange Line is on fire.

(Three times in as many days, I think.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seen at Brookline Village

Aren't small long-haired dogs supposed to be wearing hooded parkas with matching boots if they're out in crap like this?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

with apologies to Messrs. Bernard and Smith

So I occasionally dabble in parody, and as I am the Chief Groundskeeper of Fiddlerheim, and as snow shoveling takes much time and not much mental effort, the following happened.

Over the ground lies a mantle of slush
Once gleaming white, now it's grey and brown mush
Our hearts are sinking each time we start thinking of clearing.
Now Old Man Winter has become our foe
Blizzard, Nor'easter or just plain old snow
Each time we clean up, we hear there's another storm nearing.

Cell phones ding, are you listening?
Text alerts, school we're missing,
No end is in sight, we're cranky tonight
Shov'ling in a Boston wonderland.

Gone away is our good mood
Here we're saying some words rude
We dropped the F-bomb in front of our moms
Shov'ling in a Boston wonderland.

In the alley we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Mayor Tom
He'll say there's an emergency of snow, man
And through the town the parking ban is on.

Later on, we will all boast
That we make the best French toast
With milk, bread and eggs and a dash of nutmeg
Shov'ling in a Boston wonderland.

In the roadway we can build a snowman
And use him to save our parking spot
We'll be mighty proud of Mister Snowman
Whether we shoveled out that space or not.

Later on, we will all boast
That we make the best French toast
With milk, bread and eggs and a dash of nutmeg
Shov'ling in a Boston wonderland.

Not via the Orange Line

I'm fairly certain that a diminutive Pakistani gentleman just asked me how to get to Mel Bay.

Adult conversations

I have a couple adult students right now, and I very much enjoy working with them, not least because of conversations like these:

Me: We discovered a ridiculous amount of dust on the shelves above the bed.
V (in a French accent, on account of she's French): Oh, I think the dust can be pretty. When the sunlight hits it just so, you can pretend it's silver.

I like the way she thinks.


The next conversation was in the context of how chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats.

Me: When I was in college, I had a roommate who had a dog who ate an entire pan of brownies. He was sick for a day, but he was fine. I don't think I could even eat an entire pan of brownies.
K: Oh, I could. If I had to.
Me: If you had to...
K: You know, if someone came up and said, "You have to eat this pan of brownies or you'll never see your family again." Although that's probably not very likely to happen, is it?

If you don't eat the brownies, the terrorists will win.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Less than reassuring

Overheard between two elevator guys at Porter:

Guy #1: Is this how this is supposed to look, all spliced together like this?
Guy #2: Hm. I dunno. I've never seen anything like that before.
Guy #1: Me neither.
Guy #2: I guess it's supposed to look like that.
Guy #1: Yeah, OK.

At least it was one of the shorter elevators? Hm.

Not an auspicious start to the day

First, I got on a Red Line car on which somebody had vomited all over one end of it. I managed to sit far enough away to avoid most of the smell.

Then, at Davis, there was a man next to the busking bench who smelled so strongly of urine that I gagged. I understand that he must have troubles that I can't even imagine. I wish I could call someone to take in of such people...he wasn't being disruptive or threatening or doing anything but standing there, but he and his four plastic bags of what appeared to be trash must need help.

Both of these things happened before 9AM. Never mind the warm beverages; send my friend Jim Beam.*

*While the Fiddler is fond of her dram, she does not actually endorse whiskey before breakfast. Usually. Today may be an exception.

Overheard on the T

"Boots are not pants. Tights are not pants. Leggings are not pants. Pants are pants. Wear some."

Frozen Fiddler

The high today is supposed to be 18 degrees. Farenheit. Send warm beverages.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nearly more interesting of a day than I wanted

So I was in South Station, busking merrily away, and a fellow busker I know asked when I'd be done and if I'd watch his stuff. I agreed to do so.

Fast forward a couple hours, I'm packing up and listening to a scammer work the crowd, same guy who's been recently released from jail, had beds in rehab units in Springfield and Fall River and needed to buy a pair of pants for a job interview, but he'd managed to steal the shirt, all within the past couple of months. When I turn around, scammer guy and a Transit Police Officer are standing right there. Scam Man asks how to get a permit to busk, so I tell him and he goes away.

Officer starts asking me about the stuff in the corner; I tell him I know it's there, and I'm watching it for another busker, who had told me he'd be on one of the benches on the platform. I watch officer go looking for the guy, who then appears in front of me with a cup of coffee.

Officer comes back; we ascertain the proper ownership of the mound of gear in the corner, and then the officer tells the other busker that he needs to stay with his stuff or take it with him, because people had been calling in about an abandoned pile of things, and busker was lucky that the bomb-sniffing dog hadn't gotten down there and they hadn't cut open all his bags.

Officer actually came across as politely as he could given what he was saying; busker agreed not to leave his gear seemingly unattended.

I can't decide where the problem lies, though. I think it's some with the busker for leaving his stuff, some with the public for freaking the heck out, some with the Powers That Be for encouraging the public to freak the heck out, some with me for agreeing to watch his gear.

If the dog and more cops had gotten there, I would have spoken up, of course, but I'm not sure how much good I could have done...I don't know the guy's name. I know who he is; I've seen him around for years, and I know he's introduced himself to me, but I can't remember his name. Oy.

He is, however, not the only busker who leaves their gear unattended, especially at South Station. I never understand why people do that. Of course, they take their money with them, but I've seen instruments left alone for more than a couple minutes, and that just seems like a bad plan.

Not that I'm really one to talk. More on that later.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Does this happen to other people?

My main teaching gig is at a private music school. Every so often, I hear someone else's student in a lesson play something that makes me want to burst in to correct them.

The most recent occurrence involves a teacher whom I know to be excellent, so I'm sure she was focusing on something else at the time, but it took some effort for me not to yell through the wall "For the love of God, play a G-natural!"

But then, I'm sure many of my colleagues feel the same way when they overhear one of my lessons.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let it snow

12-year-old student, on Tuesday: All our teachers said, for a snow day, to sleep with our pajamas inside out and with a spoon to protect us from the Sumerian sky god Enlil. Also to pray.


I'm a bit curious what school he attends in which all his teachers told them this, but it seems to have worked.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In which the Fiddler is sleep-deprived

So I haven't been sleeping all that well lately, and when the Orange Line pulled into Downtown Crossing, my brain did something different with the usual announcement.

What the conductor said was the usual "Downtown Crossing, change here for Red, Green and Silver Lines."

What I momentarily expected was to get off the train and see this:

I don't know either. But it's never boring being me.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

And in other sad news

Debbie Friedman, Jewish singer-songwriter, responsible for quite a lot of the music used in Reform synagogues these days, has died of pneumonia. She was in her mid-50s, and it seems she's been taken too soon.

Everyone else is posting her Mi Sheberach, the healing prayer. I'm posting something else.

Miriam's Song

Rough weekend

May the memories of Christina Greene, Dorothy Murray, John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwin Stoddard and Gabriel Zimmerman be a blessing, and may healing come to their families and loved ones, as well as to Congresswoman Giffords, of course.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A note received

Earlier in the year, when I was still busking outside, I received the following note in my case:

"I became homeless a month ago when I ran away from my partner and don't have any money to give you. I just wanted you to know that your music gave me so much enjoyment this morning, at a time I needed it so much."

He did sign his name and his e-mail address; I never wrote to him. But I'm glad to have helped, even a little.