Sunday, October 30, 2011


I cannot think of any other word to describe my feelings. I am besotted with music. Drunk with the music, infatuated with the music, made stupid by the the music. (Definitions curtesy of

In the past week, I have been to several live music performances. American Bluegrass (church auditorium); Bulgarian music (house concert); Czech Republic blue grass concert (coffee house); Quebecquois fiddle music (house concert). This upcoming Friday night there is Irish singing; on Sunday I am going to hear a classical music concert, with a world famous violinist, at Stanford University. I get to hear all of this wonderful music without having to drive into "The City" (ie, San Francisco).

We are most fortunate in the SF bay area, to have so many varied musical options, most of exceptional quality. There is folk music, and bluegrass music, classical music, and Celtic music; there are coffee houses, and house concerts, universities, and major symphonies. All of these venues are within an hour's driving distance from any central bay area location.

I have attended so many wonderful concerts lately that I have become quite drunk from the local bay area music scene. It is both intoxicating and addictive. With just about every concert, I take home a little bit of the music with me, in the form of a CD, so I can listen to the music over and over and over again.

I love this wonderful bay area, for many reasons - cultural diversity, great weather, proximity to the ocean, incredible county parks for hiking - but I think that I love it most of all for its musical diversity.

If I ever have to leave the SF bay area, it will truly be a sobering reality.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mothra, Revisited

I am not afraid of spiders, or venomous snakes, or as it turns out, coyotes, having encountered all of them up close and personal. But, the giant moths kind of freak me out.

These are not your typical flimsy-winged flutterers that hover close to the lights. These are mountain moths, and they are gigantic. You know, like "Mothra". (OK, well maybe not quite that big.)

For the uninitiated, those of you who don't watch 1950s Godzilla movies, Mothra is a Monster Moth who battles with Godzilla. (And I know this how? Lets just say my son loved watching old "B" horror movies.)

These moths up here on the mountain have enormous bodies, which take enormous amounts of energy just to become airborne. As a result, their wings sound like mini chain saws buzzing at a million flaps per second just to keep them aloft. And when 25 of these creatures are beating on your sliding glass door to get close to the light - well, its just creepy that's all.

Then again, perhaps I have watched one too many Alfred Hitchcock movies. ("The Birds" comes to mind.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


It was a memorable event. The dignitaries were introduced, official proclamations were presented. Stories and accolades to his memory were told. The plaque was unveiled, songs sung, reception held. And then, the show went on. (Literally.)

The auditorium at Fremont High School has now been officially dedicated as the Shannon Theatre.

Tim's step-son wrote - "As true as "What, I had to die to get the theatre dedicated to me!?!" might have been, I know this would have really meant a lot to him." Yes, it would have Drew. It certainly would have.

The real reason that the auditorium was named after Tim is not because he died at a relatively young age (49); it is because of the effect that he had on the lives of all of his students. As drama alumnus Andrea Nysen pointed out so well at the dedication - Tim didn't just teach drama and stagecraft; Tim taught "life".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 11

The sun is shining, the sky is a clear blue and a hint of coolness fills the air. Crows in the redwoods are cawing to each other, back and forth. Periodically, I hear the muted roar of motorcycle engines, as they race up and down the ribbon of asphalt that is Skyline Boulevard. It is a beautiful fall day up here on the mountain.

And yet...there is a melancholy to my happiness. Last night, I dreamed of Sean, eleven years gone, still a boy in my dreams. I dreamed that I had forgotten him, that he was alive and I had not seen him in years.

Part of that is true - I have not seen him in years. Eleven years in fact. But I have not forgotten you, Sean. I will never forget you, ever. I have been distracted lately, I will admit that. But I have not forgotten.

Later today, Jim and I will meet at the Land. We will winterize the bench, the bench your friends built in your memory, like we do every fall. We will go up to the old cabin, what's left of it, and think of all the good times we had with you up there when you were young. We will walk to the deck and to the pond. And then Jim will come with me to see my new place on Skyline. Yes, I have a new place. Life moves forward, without you; I cannot change that.

Tuesday I will visit the high school and the auditorium, your home-away-from-home. It will be hard, because Tim won't be there, but I will visit none-the-less. And I will remember you both, and miss you both, the two of you, forever entwined in my heart, forever associated with Fremont High School and its auditorium.

And on Tuesday, I will lay a red rose - one at the condo where we lived, one at the railroad tracks where you breathed your last breath, and one down at the high school, as close as I can get to the auditorium. Because, now matter how busy or otherwise distracted one gets on this earthly world, a mother never forgets her child. Ever.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Third Class

Despite efforts at integration in America, we are not a class-less society. In the US, there is the upper class, the middle class and the lower classes. We have premium, super and regular; first class, business class, and economy. And now, there is third class.

I am speaking of the airlines. I thought there were just the three seating classes, but I have found out today, when booking my winter holiday vacation, that I am mistaken. There is definitely a class lower than the "regular" economy class.

It appears that American Airlines, who usually has the best times and prices for my wallet and destination, has created this extra class. I have now been relegated to the very, very, very back of the airplane, right by the lavatories. First class and business class sit much further up front, and have all kinds of amenities which the "economy" section lacks, such as a place to put your legs and feet. For years, economy class has been where most of us "regular" (ie, non-business, non-wealthy) people sit.

But now, it appears that American Airlines has split economy class into two sections. If I want to sit closer to the business and first class sections, and board and exit the plane two minutes sooner than those at the very back of the plane, I now need to pay an additional $75. I refuse to pay $75 for this "privilege". We regular folks already bring our own food, our knees hug our chests, and we are (or were) the last group to board.

What scheme will the airlines think of next to wring a few dollars out of air travelers? Perhaps they could sell tickets to use the lavatory, or require payment to reserve an oxygen mask or flotation device. I wouldn't put it past them.