Friday, December 31, 2004

Dancing into the New Year

I got up around noon since I danced passed 2a last night. I then went to some dance workshops. There was a Salsa one that was so bad I left half way though it. It did go to a good Country 2 Step and a West Coast Swing workshop. I then went to the Swing Ballroom for the Masquerade Ball Dinner and Show. Dinner was really good. It was a buffet so of course I had seconds. The show included dancers from the US Open Dance Competition. They were all very good. After the show was open dancing and I dance going between the Swing and Salsa Ballrooms. I danced under the balloons in the Swing Ballroom so I could be there when they dropped. The countdown to the New Year began
5 4 3 2 1 Happy New Year!
and the balloons dropped on top of me, toasted and drank Champaign. 2005 has begun. I then spent the rest of the night dancing.

This is cute.
Happy New Year!

Posted by Eric at 11:18 PM

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Dancing in the Desert

DD, AD, Jk and I had the Free breakfast at the hotel. It was one of the best continental breakfasts I have had since the hotel I stayed at in Washington. It had pancakes, French toast, muffins, cereal and yogurt. A nice spread. Then we went to pick up Mom back at Barbara and Dave's and started our way back to the LA area. They dropped me off in Palm Springs (I just like the way that sounds, they dropped me off. It is a 6 hour drive and they just dropped me off. Ya I know but is just sound funny) at the Doral Palm Springs Resort for the
Swing'n New Year's Dance Camp and Salsa Extravaganza. I met up with my friend Kimberly who will be my ride back to the LA area when the camp ends. We went to eat at Sizzler and got back in time to see the Jill and Jack West Coast Swing Competition.

Let me give you some background. During the camp, there are dance competitions in various dances which were West Coast Swing, Salsa, Hustle and Night Club and at various levels which were novice, intermediate, advanced and professional (many were dance teachers in this category). There were competitions like Strictly Swing in which the partners had practiced and danced with each other before. With the Jack and Jill, it is different. It starts with the leaders being called up and standing in a line. Then the followers are called up and each stand in front of a leader. A playing card is picked from an audience member and the followers move to the right the number of leaders as the number shown on the card. The dancers now dance with someone they have not danced with before. The Jack and Jill competition shows how well you can lead or follow.

This evening it was a Jill and Jack which the girls lead and the guys followed. They also took it further than that. The guys wore dresses and girls clothes and the girls wore guys clothes. It was so funny and they were all good dancers as well. Then there was open dancing in the Swing and Salsa Ballrooms. I danced with a lot of really cute girls and danced until 2a.

Posted by Eric at 11:42 PM

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Weaves of Sparkling Lights

Today we went to the Native American Museum at the Arizona State University. Displayed at the museum were weaves (rugs, blankets) created by Native Americans. In one room were early weaves and in the other room were weaves created in the 20th and 21st century. They were all amazing works of art. We then all went to a bakery in a grocery store to get some dessert. We then took it to their apartment to eat them. My dessert was very good. We then went to a housing community called Winterhaven where they had an amazing display of sparkling Christmas lights which were judged and some won city awards. They were all very pretty and creative.

Posted by Eric at 11:30 PM

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Going to "Arizona Maybe"

To travel out of the LA area without running into a lot of traffic, you have to either leave late at night of early in the morning. We choose early in the morning, 4a in the morning. That is way too early for me. A few years ago I use to go to bed at that time. So at 4a, Mom, DD, AD, JK and I started the drive east to Oro Valley, Arizona where my Mom's sister, Barbara and her husband Dave live. The drive started with a hard rainfall which lessened as we proceeded east. When we came into the dessert, we saw these isolated mountains with the sun peeking through the clouds. It was nice to see the mountains again. The desert is a unique place with very little green or tall plants except for cacti. The Saguaro Cactus are in Arizona which we do not see in California. We dropped off our stuff at the hotel and went to their apartment. We hung out, ate pizza and talked. It was really nice to see and hang out with them.

Posted by Eric at 11:04 PM

Monday, December 27, 2004

In Memory of Grandma

This has been a strange, fun, unusual and sad trip back home. While most of the days have been fun, today was a sad day. When I had arrived here at the Long Beach airport last week I had heard that my dad's mom had passed away. Today was the funeral. I was asked to play the piano before, after and some during the funeral. It is a sad thing when a parent is gone. Now both of my dad's parents have crossed the great divide. Now it is just he and his sister. It was a nice service. I will say that it really does not hit you until you look inside the casket and see the person yourself. Many of us went back to my dad's sister for a reception. As I said, a strange trip back home.

Posted by Eric at 11:50 PM

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Ok. I leave Galveston for 2 weeks and what happens? They get snow. Snow in Galveston, Texas? Apparently it has not happened since 1989 and guess what. I am here in California. Unbelievable. At least my car got to see the snow.

Snow in Galveston!

Posted by Eric at 11:56 PM

Seeing the Old Hang Outs

This evening I asked DD if he wanted to drive around and take me to some of my old hang outs. He took me to 2 of them. One is on Signal Hill. It has changed a lot. There are much more houses on the hill than there were 2 years ago. The view from the hill is still nice. The 2nd place was what I call The Reef. It is a park area between the Queen Mary and a restaurant called The Reef. From this park you can see all of downtown across the water. I would come often when I lived here whenever I wanted to calm down and think.

A view of Long Beach from The Reef

Posted by Eric at 11:40 PM

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Happy Lighted and Decorated Tree Day!!!!!!

Posted by Eric at 11:36 PM

Friday, December 24, 2004

Wesołych Świąt

Christmas Eve has always been a more important and more fun of a day than Christmas Day. Mainly because of the Polish Traditions that I have been brought up into since I was little. Christmas has always been about family to me. Tonight they were my mom, her sister, her mom (who we have always called Nana), my dad, my brother Adam, his wife Jennifer and her mom.

The Christmas dinner begins with the Opłatek (a Christmas Wafer) which is pronounced "Oh-pwah-tek." The sacred white wafer, a semi-transparent wafer of unleavened dough stamped with scenes of the nativity, are shared with each person present. During the exchange, good wishes are expressed. Then we start eating. A Polish dish I always look forward to at Christmas is the Gołabki (Cabbage Roll-Ups) which is pronounced "goh-wab-kee." This Christmas there were 2 different kinds, one with meat and the other with buckwheat. I always like to eat the meat one.

For desert was 2 cakes, the booze cake and the poppy seed cake, a pumpkin pie and a Reese's peanut butter cup cake made by Adam and Jennifer. They are really good but my favorite has always been the booze cake.

This year Adam and Jennifer had us play games which were really fun. Then we opened presents.

As always, a great Christmas with the family.

More about the Opłatek
More about the Polish Christmas Eve Dinner

Wesołych Świąt (Merry Christmas)!


Posted by Eric at 11:54 PM

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Coming Home

My plane flew into the Long Beach airport yesterday evening. It is always a unique feeling coming back home to the place you grew up. Those of you who have moved far away enough that you have to fly to come home will know what that feeling is like. It will always be home but it no longer feels like home. For me Galveston now feels like home. But it is always great to be back here for Christmas.

Today I had breakfast-lunch at pancake house with my brother, Adam. We then went back to his apartment and listened to each others music. It was nice spending a few hours just with him. He dropped me off at my Mom's house which is also the house I lived in when I live in Lakewood. It has been a year since I have seen the house. A flood of images and memories came to me. What it was like then and were I am now. Mom and I met DD at BJ's. There have always been 2 things I really like about BJ's Restaurant, the great Chicago style pizza and the cute waitresses. Well this evening they were both good.

Posted by Eric at 11:14 PM


Here are this week's Tonight Show Headlines.

One of my favorites this week.

Posted by Eric at 10:58 PM

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Cantata

Today was the last day of my church gig. It was a nice way to end my gig. This service included a 25 minute cantata, "The Promised One" by Ralph Karl Sydow." It was a nice piece and the choir did a good job performing it. Then it was time to get stuff done to be really to fly home on Tuesday.

Posted by Eric at 10:56 PM

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Hang Out, Unwind, Drop in Energy

Musicians and performers know when you just finished a major performance and you are high in energy, when the performance has ended you begin to feel down and depressed. To resist that feeling, performers will go to Denny's or some other 24 hour restaurant to hang out, unwind and drop in energy together in the company of friends.

After an intense but exciting semester, I also needed to hang out, unwind and drop in energy in the company of friends. So I hung out with Ron and George. We hung out at Ron's house and I improvised a little on his pipe organ. It really is a great sounding organ for only having under 200 pipes. For dinner we walked to The Original Mexican Restaurant. That was real Mexican food. During our walk back, I was in the mood for some desert (ya I know, when am I not). We walked to the Mosquito Cafe and saw the Lemonade Lemon Cake. It looked so good I had to have a piece. We walked back to Ron's and I ate that cake. It was so good. I left before midnight because both Ron and I had to work tomorrow.

Posted by Eric at 11:50 PM

Friday, December 17, 2004

My 1st Semester as a Professor

Well my finals were given, graded and class grades submitted to admissions. This officially completes my 1st semester as a college professor. It had its ups and downs but over all it was fun. I was told by many of my students that they really enjoyed my class and the way I taught the class. They also said they have recommended me and my class to other students. That was the coolest thing about this semester. I made an impact and opened students minds to other kinds of music that they had not heard before. Some of the students had never been to an orchestra or choir concert before. They enjoyed the experience and thanked me for forcing them to go to one as a class assignment. So I leave my office and the school for the last time this calendar year. It will be ready for more teaching adventures next year.

Posted by Eric at 11:32 PM

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Here are this week's Tonight Show Headlines.

One of my favorites this week.

Posted by Eric at 11:10 PM

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Choir Christmas Party

This evening one of my choir members had a choir Christmas party at her house. It was a nice house. It is one of the beginning of the 20th century 3 bedroom Victorian style houses. I had great conversations with my choir members. Many of them are BOI's (Born on the Island) so they know a lot of the musical history of the island and of the college. It was also cool talking to 2 other choir directors Ron (my accompanist and choir director of Trinity Episcopal Church) and Leo (a member of my choir and the choir director for the Sacred Heart Church).

Posted by Eric at 10:04 PM

Retirement Party

We had a party honoring the college librarian who is retiring this semester. There was a big chocolate-vanilla cake and fruit punch. Thus continuing "The Quest for Free Food."

Posted by Eric at 5:24 PM

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Here are this week's Tonight Show Headlines.

These are just really funny.

Posted by Eric at 10:42 PM

Friday, December 10, 2004

The College Christmas Party

Today was the Faculty Christmas Party. The party takes place in the college arboretum were the culinary art students cater the party. The food was very good. My choir performed at the party singing 3 pieces. A jazz arrangement of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," my arrangement of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and the cool arrangement of "Twas the night before Christmas." I just realized this, all 3 of those pieces have long titles. Huh. The choir sang well and I ate lots of food.

Posted by Eric at 11:38 PM

Monday, December 6, 2004

1st concert as a College Professor

This evening was my 1st concert with the Galveston College Choir and also my 1st as a college professor. The concert went very well with about 70 people attending the concert. That is pretty good for a Monday night. I even arranged for free food (cookies, water and coffee) during the intermission. The concert had a lot of variety. I had them process in twice, once in the beginning of the concert with a improv "ad lib" on a pentatonic scale and the 2nd time after intermission, after singing the chant "Puer natus est," with the Coventry Carol. Other pieces on the concert were:
3 Renaissance madrigals -"My Heart is offered still to you," "Weep O mine eyes" and "Sicut Cervus;" a nice arrangement of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," and an audience Christmas Carol Sing Along. The choir also performed 2 of my Christmas arrangements; "God Rest Ye" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Continuing the Musical Weekend

Today at my temporary church gig, the Austin Girls Chorus performed during the service. They sounded quite good. I then went to the Galveston Chamber Music Society.

I then went to the Galveston Chamber Music Society. It is a group that meets about 4 times a year at different locations to perform music for each other. Most of them are music teachers and some have non music day jobs but still like to perform. So this is their chance to work on a piece a perform it. Today it was at an old house built in the late 1800's. It was a nice house. There were musicians playing pieces for solo piano (Chopin was one of the composers) piano duet (a concerto by J.S. Bach) and a contemporary piece for violin, cello and piano. It was great sitting in an old house with people playing music for each other. It reminds me what is probably was like with composers such at Mozart, Chopin and Les Six. Musicians performing good music for each other. A reception followed the informal concert (more free food). It was a nice musical day.

Posted by Eric at 11:30 PM

Saturday, December 4, 2004

The Christmas Season Has Begun

I was asked, by my supervisor, a few days ago if I would play music on the piano while slides of art were being shown. She is a faculty advisor to Phi Theta Kappa which is a 2 year college honor society. Today they were having a workshop on the PTK national competitions they will be competing in. It was fun and they really enjoyed my playing. I also got free food which was Lasagna and cookies.

I then went to Dickens on the Strand. This takes place in the Historic Downtown Galveston. They close off the street, have Dickens type booths and people dress in Dickens clothes. It was kind of neat. They had a performance of a bagpipe band which consisted of 2 bagpipe players and 2 percussionists (one playing the boudran and the other switching between the boudran and the snare drum). There were children's choirs singing along the street dressed in Dickens and sounding pretty good. I even saw a guy playing the glass harmonica (which is drinking glasses set up like a keyboard and the player rubs his finger around the top of the glass to produce a sound). I heard him play Jeus, Joy of Man's Desiring of Bach and Carol of the Bells.

I then went to the Pipe Organ Extravaganza at Galveston Trinity Episcopal Church. The concert started with the Houston Children's Chorus singing the Ceremony of Carols by Britten accompanied by the harp. Then Ron began his organ concert. He is an incredible player playing a great sounding organ. After the concert was a reception. More free food. Ron then invited me to a private party in a condo at the Galvestonain hosted by his cousin. Now that is a packed day.

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Friday, December 3, 2004


Here are this week's Tonight Show Headlines.

Posted by Eric at 10:46 PM

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Happy Birthday Adam

Today is my brother's birthday. He is pretty much the best brother anyone can have. He is one of my best friends and we have been able to talk about anything. He tells me his opinion straight out if I am not being true to myself and will always be there if I ever need him.

I am also very proud of him for making a name for himself as a musician. His music from his 2 cds Drifters and azure rising are being heard from Phoenix, Arizona to Japan.


Posted by Eric at 10:54 PM