They can play, So What?

The other day, I was listening to jazz on the way home from hockey, and I heard a rendition of Miles Davis’ So What. A couple of days later, I couldn’t get the song out of my head, so when I came home from work and finished dinner, I sat down and played it on the piano. Then I picked up the nylon string guitar and had a go at it. It’s tough for me to play any kind of scales on guitar, but I did figure it out. Sort of. Then I asked Aaron to play it for me.

A few minutes later(which is all it took for Aaron to nail it), I called Adam to please come downstairs; I had gone back to the piano and we needed a drummer, badly: it was one of those moments where the music begins to gel. Adam, whether he was listening to us practice or not, immediately picked up the groove,  sensed the changes and the phrasing, and one chorus later, he even put the rim shots exactly where Jimmy Cobb put them in 1959. Meanwhile, when we were done with the head of the song, Aaron said “Now what do I do?”. I said “Take a solo.” So he did.
Wow. If you haven’t heard this song played on a nylon string guitar, you’re missing something.
The boys practice almost every day. They never play jazz unless I ask them. But when they do play jazz, it’s pretty amazing. Several choruses later, I went back to the head of the song, and the boys followed, and we faded out together. The look on their faces said that they liked what just happened. Aaron even said “that was pretty cool!” I was thinking how lucky and blessed I am to be a part of this.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll brag again: we have amazing kids. Maybe this weekend, we’ll record it. But I wasn’t going to stop the playing tonight and interrupt the magic. I love my kids; they can play.

Sunsets, card games and friends

Each year, we take a trip to Boston to visit with our college friends from Cyndi’s dorm that was called Russian House, or RusskiDom. Every several years or so, we try to have a special gathering. Some years ago, we went skiing in New Hampshire. This year, we postponed the February trip for a special reunion in July, again held in New Hampshire.

This was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. There were 25 of us, including our spouses, children and a sibling. We went hiking, took a canoe trip on a river, braved a canopy tour(zip lining), participated in a cupcake eating contest, watched an incriminating video of the first reunion from 1991, played cards every night, cooked all our own food, and cleaned up after ourselves. There was much laughter, no quarreling and no drama. There was even dance lessons in Flamenco, Argentinian Tango and Swing.

We took lots of pictures, some of which I will share here. The others will be closely guarded state secrets published on a secret database until the next reunion. Earlier, I posted an entry with some photos of our at the top of Cathedral Ledge. Here are some photos of our last night, before we tried to polish off 20 bottles of wine, whiskey, and tequila(I think the vodka disappeared fairly early in the vacation. I think.), and hence, are submitted to the public domain for safe consumption(RusskiDom’ers, all of these are available in full resolution upon request):

The ‘family photo':



One of our original members, Tanya, daughter Naia, the newest edition to the clan, plus one more on the way, all posing after sunset on the amazing property where we stayed:


I took a dozen shots of the sunset, and I think this one is one of my favorites. This is the view from the balcony:


Cyndi and friends playing cards at ONE of the card tables:

Some of the kids, wait, I think ALL of the kids, playing cards with some of the grownups. Well, playing cards with some of the adults, anyway:



Can’t go wrong with smiles and dimples, can you? And that’s me drinking, um, orange juice:


And Aaron playing guitar in the parlor, singers and drinks abound. There was also a ukulele and a saxophone that night!


At the edge of the world…

So, we are communing with nature(and about 20 college friends and their kids) out here in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. We took a hike to Cathedral’s Ledge, and at the top of the ledge, Arianna sat down to check out the view. Cyndi took these great shots. Later, I want to try and crop them into a poster or something, but thought I would share them unedited for now(apologies for the large file size):