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Almost 7 months

February 2, 2013

Like most mornings, I awoke today, and looked outside and contemplated the universe.  One of the benefits of not working is not having to jump out of bed, a much more humane way to greet the day.  Today, there’s a grey winter blanket over the sky which puts me in a mood, a little reflective with some soulful meditation, the feeling I get when I’m playing one of Bach’s masterful Adagio works in a minor key.

A contributing factor is that one of our neighbor’s son died at the age of 25 of Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma after 8 years of battle and his memorial is today.  Sammy grew up with Greg, and his mother Vicki who plays the piano and I spent many evenings playing music.  Greg was an exceptional person and actually had a meeting with the Dali Lama a couple of years ago.  No, they aren’t Buddhist.

With the confluence of events, when Claire awoke this morning, we talked a bit about the unfairness of life.  I thought, “Ours is not to know the big picture, we make it up as we go”.

The last month has been a little rough in that I’ve had some chest discomfort and breathing problems.  I’ve been to Stanford and had tests that did not reveal a definitive etiology.  They think it started with an infection which set up an inflammatory reaction in my lungs.  I’m still not up to par.  It seems to be antagonized with deep breaths and to some extent my posture.  At the suggestion of a music friend, I saw a person who works with the Alexander technique.  A lot of actors, dancers, and musicians subscribe to it.  Although I’ve only had one session, I think I can already feel an improvement.

I’m very aware of all the flu out there so when I venture to the market, home depot or other indoor public places, I wear a mask.  I’m suppose to go to a chamber music workshop next weekend at SF State.  Usually I get accepted to one day but this time I got accepted to both Saturday and Sunday.  I’m not sure I can handle it nor do I feel comfortable being that exposed.  It’s pretty hard to play the flute with a mask.  I’m most comfortable being at home or outside where there aren’t a lot of people arround.  I’m getting a glimpse of the Howard Hughes syndrome.

In my big picture,  I feel very fortunate.  I have a wonderful wife, beautiful kids and lots of creature comforts and  I know I’m getting better and stronger.  Every night I recite my “power chant” and include all the wonderful people I’ve met on this journey.


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  1. marc yellin permalink

    Yellin household still transmitting positive and healing energies over the few hillocks separating our homes. Long wavelength, steady frequency…they’ll get to you. Keep fighting the good fight, avoid snot and laugh alot.

  2. Lee Thoma permalink

    Playing a flute through a mask? Hmm…sounds a bit like Louis Armstrong playing with his handerchief in hand. Maybe you can start a stylish new trend! By the way I’m Howard Hughes’ 3rd cousin twice removed and I can assure you, you are no Howard Hughes! Cordially…Lee Thoma

  3. linda permalink

    Jim, I also highly recommend the Alexander Technique. I did it when I lived in Illinois. Yes, I agree with Marc, Laughing feels so good. 🙂 Thinking of you.

  4. Loren permalink

    Enjoy the workshop at SF State! I had hoped to be coached on a Pierre Paubon work for fl-ob-cl, but groups that small were not being accepted. Just as well, because the infamous flu caught up with me; I’ve cancelled this week and most of next to remain at home, because the flu meanie always passes me off to the bronchitis meanie. I will miss visiting with you.

  5. susan garfield permalink

    Can you cut a mouth hole in your mask for your flute? I still have a flute here. Maybe one of the grandkids will play it. Love to all.

  6. Chip Goldeen permalink


    Big game tomorrow, hope the 49ers can pull out the win! Stay strong.


  7. alexis permalink

    it seems like you are doing fabulous on your recovery 🙂 just keep on thinking positive thoughts and reciting your ‘power chant’
    i’m sorry to hear about the loss of your neighborhor’s son.

    can’t wait to see you in a few months for the wedding!

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