News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

This past weekend has caused me to reflect that one of the challenges of living in this neighborhood is not having many friends who are also neighbors. Phil and I try to be as self-sufficient as possible, but one of the things I liked about apartment living was that if something was a little more urgent than waiting for a reader, we had people to call for help. That’s not true here, unless we call on one of our friends to drive over here. There are language barriers with our immediate neighbors. On the north side is a Hispanic family who seem friendly enough the few times we have crossed paths but stay to themselves. The man and woman on the other side of us are a bi-racial couple, but she’s afraid of our big dogs. . I feel pretty safe here most of the time, but sometimes things happen which need attention a little sooner than the once a week our reader comes. They don’t happen that often, but two happened this weekend. Friday night After going to our traditional date night restaurant for my birthday, Phil was in a lot of pain and needed to go home. I stopped in the hardware store to have more Threadlock applied to my key holder. I checked to make sure I had my Earpods when getting off the bus at the stop near our house. They were there around my neck. But After I took Zane’s harness off, they were gone. Despite having a gig in an hour, I used my hands and bare feet to check inside our yard along our back sidewalk and a little into the grass on each side to see if I could find them. The brown blades of grass were thick enough to feel like cords and really fooled me a time or two. By Saturday I found a ride to a store to pick up a back-up pair in case the ones I lost couldn’t be found. . Until getting that ride, , I had visions of Zane choking on these things as he ate them during a relieving session in the yard unbeknownst to me. We pulled into the back driveway, and my friend handed me the pair I lost. They were outside the back gate all the time!

That same Saturday night, my canter was driving me home from church, and we were so busy talking that neither of us thought about my keys. Because I have a key to the choir loft, I give my canters my keys to get what they need. When I got home, I knew Phil was at dialysis. Seconds after my canter drove away, I realized what happened. She doesn’t have a cell phone. Luckily, it was a very nice night, because Zane and I had to sit outside until she realized what happened. She was getting out of the car at the grocery store when she found them and came back to me.

I contrast that with what happened Friday night right before I left for my gig. The person picking me up was in a wheelchair and rang my cell phone — as I requested — to let me know she was there. She saw me come out of the house and told me that we had a slight problem. She had arrived twenty minutes early, turned off her car, and it wouldn’t start. She had called roadside assistance but wasn’t sure how long it would take to get help. Meanwhile, she knew I had to play for this gig. She and I were on our cell phones trying to figure out how all of this was going to work when a guy named William came out of a building about one o’clock from across the street. He had seen us, came over to see what the problem was, gave the driver a jump, and we were on our way within a few minutes. He mostly talked to the driver, and they were out of hearing range. So I didn’t get to find out any details like his last name or even whether he lived in a house or apartment to thank him later. Unlike the neighborhood in which our apartment was located, this neighborhood doesn’t have get-togethers and doesn’t participate in neighbors nights out. But I am certain there are nice people like this William who would be glad to take a little time now and again and possibly become friends.
It is possible I may be emphasizing the wrong things in my music. I have belonged to a group of pianists/composers like myself, and they like to write songs, make albums and then make money. Many are appalled when requested to play other people’s work, but not me. It’s really hard to make money doing things with which people aren’t familiar. I don’t want to say I’ll never make another CD again. But it takes touring to support an album every few years, and this past Friday’s gig reminded me there’s money to be made locally and currently if I can just find it. This gig opened my eyes to the fact there are event planners who contract with caterers, many others, and entertainers like me to pull an event together. I looked at the web site of the person planning this event, and she represents the kind of people I need to know and convince of my uniqueness in the field of piano background music. So many pianists for events play schmaltzy jazz or classical music, but as the baby boomers and younger generations are in the majority of the work force, they want to hear light rock, pop, and a little soul — people like Styx, Journey, Abba, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Commodores. Because they want to talk, it can’t be at full volume as in a band setting. I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging, but I believe I’m one of very few pianists who can pull it off without it sounding like it should be coming out of an elevator.

I have some ideas germinating about ways to use Facebook to work on these things without coming across as too aggressive on either front. If any of you experienced Fb users have ideas for me, please give me a shout.

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