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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Main | slowing down »


I'm back in my home office in Toronto, looking out at the soggy snow on the asphalt, listening to a chill wind beating against my window. Far below, I can see the garish marquee lights of the Royal Alexandra Theatre, still highlighting "Mamma Mia". In about a month, I'll be back here for good...I can't wait.

I've packed up as much of my apartment in Philly as I can for now; cardboard boxes of books, clothes, and papers are stacked up against the wall in preparation for my move back home. My cubicle in the office (my half of it, anyway) has pretty much been bare for over a month now. I still spend a few days a week in the office, but people have already begun scavenging...items have started to disappear from my desk area: my wastepaper basket, office supplies, my office chair. I sent out a couple of office-wide e-mails pleading for the return of my chair. A kind soul did find me a chair; it wasn't the same one, but the gesture was appreciated...I was starting to get paranoid about the need to chain everything down so it wouldn't be pilfered. Sadly, my benefactor is resigning from the company next week.

I still love my harp; it's keeping me sane in Philly these days. My harp lessons aren't as frequent because of scheduling problems, but I've learned enough basic technique from Kim to be able to make some progress on my own. I'm starting to learn a Kim Robertson arrangement (Blind Mary) which is absolutely gorgeous but way too hard for me. I want to learn it anyway, of course, so I'm working through it one slow measure at a time. Meanwhile, I'm still plugging away at my other pieces. Out of curiosity, I took out some older pieces which I tried when my harp first arrived...and was delighted to find that I could play them much more easily. I even sightread through a few Christmas carols, even though it's highly unlikely anyone will hear me play them before Christmas. To all you musicians out there: do you learn pieces for yourself, or to perform for other people? i.e. would you learn a piece even if you knew you would never play it for anyone?

I'm also starting to compose my first piece on the harp. It's a simple instrumental work; I'm hoping to get it finished as a good-bye gift for my harp teacher in Philadelphia. I love composing on the harp; -everything- sounds good. :-) Before I hooked up with Urban Tapestry, I used to compose piano instrumental pieces which no one ever heard. When I discovered that Allison and Jodi could sing pretty much anything I wrote, I was in heaven. I'm hoping to eventually write some harp-vocal arrangements for Urban Tapestry, but the difficulty will be in transporting the harp. I've discovered that in its case, the harp doesn't fit into a regular cab. Since I don't drive (our car isn't big enough, anyway) and there is no way the harp would fit into Jodi's car, it's highly unlikely I'll be taking my own harp to any convention, even local ones.

I went to Sara's Christmas play this afternoon. She played the Star of Bethlehem in the Nativity Play and had two lines. Jeff and I arrived 40 minutes early to get good seats (there were already three rows filled ahead of us by the time we arrived!). Sara had two lines which she delivered with a huge smile on her face; I was bursting with auntlike pride, of course. I knew what the lines were already because she had rehearsed them for Jeff and me the previous week.

Going back to Philly tomorrow night. I can't believe Christmas is a week away!

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