Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bluegrass Stained Glass Baby

Shalom, chaverim! How's it going, eh? Things here in placid Bellingham are rolling along nicely since I last wrote. We've been having fun exploring the area, including a couple of visits to a local casino up the road. They loaded us up with new member "comps" (complimentary gifts) like meals at the buffet--two were free because we were new members, and another two were free because it was going to be our birthdays at some date in the next year! Not to mention each of us receiving two (two!) plastic tape-measure keychains (do we look like people who need to measure twice and cut once? Probably.), lanyards on which to hang our players' club card, large buttons screaming "New Member!", and a pen that doubles as a cellphone text message stylus. That's a lot of swag.

Unfortunately, the friendliness of the staff and the generosity of the players' club benefits was not matched by the actual quality of the food. Nursing our bloated bellies and disappointed palates following our meals there, we found ourselves missing the splendor and debauched gluttony of a typical buffet at a Las Vegas Strip casino. Some things just taste better at home.

Never mind. Allegiant Airlines flies cheap and cheerful planes out of Bellingham on a daily basis, so we'll get around to visiting Vegas again when our wallet and calendars allow it. By the way, here's a little shout-out to our friends in Nevada...we miss you all! Remember you residents of the mesquite-fired state, Allegiant also flies from Vegas to Bellingham, too, so come visit us in the City of Subdued Excitement for a polar opposite urban experience and all the crunchy organic granola you can eat.

I've harnessed the power of the interwebs to build up our social life, and have joined a bunch of groups on Meetup.com that meet in Bellingham. Meetup.com is a really cheap (like $10 a year cheap) online service you can sign up with to connect with like-minded people who want to meet "IRL" (web-speak for "in real life"). I've joined "Women of Whatcom," for one, a photography group, one for independent filmmakers, one called "Northwest Entrepreneurs,"  and a couple of others. So far I've been to two meetups, and the people have been very, very nice. Since I've completed my Goodwill classes at the moment, I have some extra time and want to put it to good use.

I've also put out some feelers to see if I can form some kind of act with other musicians. So far I've gotten two responses to an ad I put out on Craigslist, so we'll see what happens with that one. I was looking, actually, for musicians with whom to form some kind of old-timey, folksy bluegrass group--my secret music love. Of course, with only a few YouTube clips to demonstrate my singing, which were of me doing Cantorial Soloist pieces in Hebrew, I'm not surprised I didn't have much street cred. Never mind. I just keep thinking of The Bangles and how they all had boring day jobs as secretaries and office workers. If they can do it, why can't I get together a little folk music ensemble?

Finally, I've started in earnest to learn how to do stained glass--something I decided I wanted to do before we made Aliyah, but could never get it together to learn when I was in Israel. Of course, the language barrier, my own shyness, and various other problems got in my way there. But now, it's time to act. I tracked down two different teachers who are offering introductory workshops in stained glass, and signed up with both of them.

The first teacher, whom I'll meet this weekend, lives in lovely Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. That's great, because it allows Elul to explore Vancouver while I toddle away with my new hobby. The next teacher is down in Auburn, Washington--south of Seattle and near Federal Way, if you know the area. I hope to study with him next month, for a two-day workshop. Strangely, the woman in Bellingham from whom I bought my tools last year seems to have disappeared from the local stained glass scene, so I have to hit the road to find my teachers.

One of the many dreams I have always had, but never did anything about, was to make art that I could actually sell. In the past, I've always sold services: English lessons, babysitting, lawn mowing, copy writing, pet sitting, showing up to a job, and so on. But I have a passion for stained glass that has haunted me for years now, and now I want to learn to make all these daydreams of beautiful work that have danced around in my head come alive--and into the homes of people who love stained glass like I do. That's it. We'll see where this new road takes me. Maybe it will be a road accompanied by the dulcet tones of my bluegrass duo. "Olah chadasha Turns Bluegrass Stained Glass Baby"...now there's a headline and a half.

Until then, l'hitra'ot ("see you later" in Hebrew), chaverim!

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