Oh Bother!

Another title contender might be “Oops, I did it again.”

In the few years that I’ve been blogging I’ve detailed a few slips, trips and falls, and yes, I HAVE done it again. All I did was stand up and YIKES!  My ankle rolled. I crumpled to the floor in pain and for a few brief moments worried that I’d broken something, but thankfully no.

I blame it on the shoes.

Karina, 9 years old, was scheduled to be my Sunday date for an eagerly anticipated performance at the Disney Concert Hall.

I wasn’t about to let a foot resembling a sausage conflict with a Los Angeles Philharmonic performance I’d promised to share with my youngest granddaughter.

Although I’m partial to Gustavo Dudamel, the current conductor and music director of the LA Phil, I thoroughly enjoy exposure to other musical artists.

And exposure is what I had in mind with Karina’s first trip to this venue.

Would she become restless? Bored?

Her only comment before we arrived was to suggest she might get so relaxed she’d fall asleep, to which I assured her that would be just fine!

I was so glad we attended the pre-concert Q & A with the guest conductor, John Adams, sharing the discussion with two pianists, Marc-André and Orli Shaham, who would be performing Adams’ Grand Pianola Music. 

Adams also prepared us to hear the unconventional–my word, not his–Symphony No 12 “Lodger,” composed by Philip Glass, based on David Bowie’s work and premiered this last week in Los Angeles. If you’re a Bowie enthusiast, I recommend THIS ARTICLE to provide context.

I’ve discovered through experience that pieces of this “untypical” nature require more than one listen to fully embrace. I am interested in learning much more and studying the Glass-Bowie collaborations that preceded this latest offering.

But the surprise?

Composer Gabriella Smith explained that the inspiration for her piece, Tumblebird Contrails, originated from her experience at Point Reyes, California, one of the most beautiful stretches of ocean in coastal Northern California, Marin County.

I’ve written about this area before and I could easily understand the inspiration connected to Ms. Smith’s original piece.

How she was able to create the sounds of birds, surf and wind with such untypical uses of the instruments was surprising. It left me breathless and wanting more. I wish I had the ability to adequately describe the unique qualities of sound that come through brass instruments used more as megaphones for wind sounds than melody, and I am not sure how the string section mimicked bird sounds so perfectly.

In her own words…

And did Karina enjoy the performances?

Yes, she did.  I was very proud of her. She didn’t fall asleep and had several things to tell me at the end which told me she was paying attention.

Upon returning home as we all sat down at the table, her mom asked her to share her impressions.

First question, “Did you enjoy yourself?”

Of course she answered affirmatively. But then when asked to expand a little bit her next statement was delivered with a twinkle in her eye.

“Well, Nan met a nice man!”


Well, in a way.  I did have a nice chat with the “older” gentleman in the seat next to me. He knew several of the musicians and had some interesting comments to make about the performance.

Now truth be told, I DID suggest that Jay might like to attend with us. Sunday football was apparently more interesting. So…

The music was enchanting and the grandmother-granddaughter bonding time was priceless.

Good thing Karina didn’t mention that the gentleman gave me his card.

Wonder if I’ll have an older, more experienced chaperone accompany me next concert?










68 thoughts on “Oh Bother!

    • Thank you, Andrew. I’m healing well. It was a wonderful day and I’m hoping both of my young gals will accompany me again. I think early exposure is a nice opportunity as long as they’re game.

  1. Is this very recent Deb? Sorry and hoping you are recovering from ankle owies! Much Love & Health, Beth

    Sent from my iPhone Beth Gramling, MA, LMFT


    • Thank you, Beth. Yes, my mishap was Friday morning before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee! I’m getting around okay as long as I “pace myself.” You never know what a day will bring…I think you have some experience in this area? Ouch!!!

  2. What a wonderful outing. Sorry about the ankle. OUCH! Great shot of your granddaughter. She looks charming.

    So glad that she enjoyed her visit to the symphony with her Grandmere! And that you were so taken with Tumblebird Contrails. I’m listening to it now:


    Gabriella Smith looks so YOUNG! And so talented. The piece is very much like listening on the beach at Big Sur or Point Reyes.

    • Nancy, I’m thrilled you found a link to Tumblebird Contrails. I think I will do a followup post soon and include the link so others can hear this piece. I don’t know Ms. Smith’s precise age, but she is definitely young. I hope to continue following her career and one of the facts we learned in the pre-concert dialogue was that the Los Angeles Phil is planning to commission her for an original piece. That’s got to be very exciting for a young composer. Again, thank you for this link. I didn’t even think to try to find the piece. I appreciate your research skills. 🙂

  3. Debra, a most special outing with your lovely granddaughter Karina. The concert sounds amazing and Karina’s perceptiveness will stand her in good stead! So, now you have the card … what happens next?! 😀 Wishing your foot a speedy recovery.

    • You’ve given me a giggle, Annika. The card! LOL! This poor guy had actually been mugged earlier in the week and most of our conversation was about the bandage on his head and his broken arm…while I was hobbling on the bad foot. He was presumably interested in informing me of the music venues he frequents, but then again, who knows what he was thinking. I giggle just thinking about it. I have a feeling my nine-year old granddaughter may be more “aware” of some things than I am. That’s kind of a frightening thought for both of us. Ha! Thanks so much for stopping by and giving me a smile. At this point I should be able to get a shoe on soon! 🙂

  4. Cheers to Karina enjoying the concert and the venue. Love the busted story because it gave me another thing we have in common – taking to the stranger in the adjacent seat. Take care of that ankle!

    • The funny thing about “talking to strangers” is that often I’d prefer to sit and be still! I don’t necessarily want to chat with the person next to me, but I am generally friendly if someone else begins the conversation. In this case, I was glad I did. The gentleman knew a lot about the different soloists, which was interesting to me, too. It’s fun for me now that my granddaughters are getting old enough to accompany me with some interest in the different musical venues. They will give me the excuse to go more often. 🙂 My ankle is doing well. I was very fortunate the sprain wasn’t worse!

  5. Kudos for soldiering on, Debra! Sounds like an incredible introduction for Karina to the Phil. What a unique perspective that composer has–I loved it! Thank you for introducing Gabriella Smith to me. She’s one to watch. Wishing you a quick recovery!

    • Thanks, Gail. I’m mending well. I really want to keep alert to Ms. Smith’s future works, too, Gail. It was a wonderful experience and I hope that Karina and Sophia will learn to love the Phil as much as I do. 🙂

    • I am really impressed with Ms. Smith, Jim. It is rare that an LA Phil audience spontaneously jumps to their feet with a standing ovation, but the crowd did so, cheering wildly. It was not a long piece, but so impressive. As such a young woman, I can’t wait to see what she does in the future! 🙂

  6. Your photos are beyond gorgeous! I remember all the birds at Point Reyes, particularly the pelicans, my favorite birds. So glad Karina enjoyed herself and that you were able to make it with your injured foot. Hope it gets better soon and that you take it easy until it does.

    • It’s so nice to hear from you, Inger! I do hope that you are doing well! I’m mending very quickly, thank you.

      Point Reyes is one of the most beautiful and serene spots on the coast, don’t you think? I was absolutely thrilled when Ms. Smith began to describe the inspiration for her beautiful composition and I could also visualize the area she, too, loved. Even with my very fat ankle Karina and I had such a good time. I hope my little companion (and spy) will accompany in the future! 🙂

    • The girls are so different, aren’t they, Andra? I don’t think Sophia would have thought one thing of the conversation, but K saw an opening to spark a little controversy. Ha! I’m doing okay and should be fine by the time I see you. 🙂

  7. You do life beautifully Debra! I hope the ankle is feeling better. And I’m sure the gentleman was properly pleased with having a pleasant conversation with a beautiful woman. No harm intended 😉

    • You’re so kind, Colleen. I still chuckle when I think of how a nine-year old was “in tune” enough to think that even in humor there was a little potential intrigue she might spark. I think I forget that my granddaughters are growing up and a lot more sophisticated then I was at their age! I’ll need to watch my step. My ankle is improving. One week later and it’s still pretty black and blue, but I’m walking. I keep thinking how fortunate I am to not require a therapeutic boot! 🙂

  8. Glad you weren’t injured too badly — and that you braved it all for a day well-spent. How fortunate for Katrina to have you . . . and, I’m sure, how fortunate for you to have her. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Kevin. I am enjoying my two granddaughters so much at this age (9 & 11) and introducing them to as many art and music experiences as I possibly can. I’m so aware that in just a few short years they will still love me, but perhaps not be as thrilled to accompany me as freely. I may be a senior citizen, but I do remember being a teenager! 🙂

  9. I felt as if I was with you through the whole day, Debra – from twisting your ankle to that card! 🙂
    My, how Karina has grown, and I did chuckle at your being “busted”. 🙂 Of course, you know me and my penchant for talking to strangers.
    The concert sounds wonderful and to be left wanting more is the best compliment you could give. It sounds delightful and innovative. Bravo!

    • Thank you, Penny. Wasn’t it about a year ago that you badly twisted an ankle? I know that we share those occasional falls. LOL! But this is my first twist! I guess it’s okay to keep laughing at ourselves. I was so surprised at Karina’s observation about the gentleman, and after quite a bit of thinking it over, I’ve come to the conclusion that in part she didn’t like it that attention to him meant I wasn’t paying attention to her. I just have a hunch. But I won’t forget it…next time I may need to be a little more careful. These children do keep us on our toes, don’t they? 🙂

  10. Hope your ankle has recovered Debra.
    Your outing to the LA Phil with Karina sounds wonderful and I am pleased she enjoyed the concert. Hazel and I are great fans (groupies even) of John Adams and have seen him conduct in the UK several times,. We also went to one of his preconcert talks and found it very insightful. Our Adams highlight was the UK premier of his Oratorio El Nino – unforgettable.

    • By the way, your concert in LA was mentioned on BBC Radio Three on Sunday morning with reference to the UK premier in London in May of the Glass/Bowie piece! Part of the work was also played.

    • Philip, your comment and observation really adds to my enjoyment of the concert. I was just saying to a friend the other day that attending these concerts has increased my hunger for classical music, because I’m learning something along the way. I listen to the radio and some recordings, but while observing the Philharmonic I am learning a lot about different conductors, and in particular, the conductors who also compose, as in Adams. I did read that the Glass/Bowie piece was commissioned as a joint agreement (not sure what terms to use for this) between Los Angeles and the UK. I didn’t follow it closely, but I thought that was interesting. I love your groupie comment. I can absolutely see how that could be! 🙂

  11. I’m happy that Karina enjoyed the music. When I saw the photo of her on the steps, I wondered how you ever did the climb with your sprained ankle. Happy to hear you are on the mind.

    • I was at the bottom of those steps, Karen! 🙂 I did okay indoors because there were escalators. Thankfully! We did have a good time, and I was so glad my accident wasn’t more dramatic. Now I’m just watching it change colors, but at least I’m walking. 🙂

  12. What a lovely afternoon full of music and family! Your descriptions of the music have me curious, I’ll have to check out your links for more information. Sending healing thoughts for your ankle. 😕 ❤️

  13. This gave me a good laugh!! (Well, not the ankle rolling part, I hope you feel better!). I cannot believe that picture of Karina…when did she become such a lovely young lady?! Glad she got to experience some lovely music with you!

    • It is funny, isn’t it, Stacey? I still chuckle every time I think of her with that sly little smile and twinkle in her eye. She knew she was being a little cheeky! LOL! I’m getting along well, and I love introducing the girls to art and music whenever I can coordinate with their busy young lives. I hope you’re doing well…it’s so good to hear from you, my friend.

  14. Great post Debbie. You do such a wonderful job of your posts. Glad your ankle is ok. I cringed when I read how you almost really hurt your ankle having actually done that badly in 2017. Never realized how fragile that area actually is. Take care and keep enjoying your many explorations. Blessings.

    • It’s so nice to have you stop by, Brenda. We need to protect our mobility, don’t we? I am still healing, but getting around without a boot or any brace, so that’s absolute proof that I was very, very lucky. Thank you for the good wishes and blessings–and to you, too! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Debi! I have to get as much time with the grandchildren while they still find me good company. LOL! As the teen years approach, I wonder if that window will close–at least for awhile. I’m doing much better. Slowly, but surely. 🙂

  15. Dear Debra, how Karina has grown since I last saw a photograph of her. And how wonderful that the two of you–despite hurting your ankle–were able to share this concert. thank you for posting the video; I enjoyed hearing the composer share how her piece came to be. I hope one day to hear it. Take care. that is, to say, hobble carefully! Peace.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Dee. I am very fortunate to be healing well, and yes, what a treasure it is to have Karina and her sister growing up into such lovely young ladies. They are curious about the things that interest me, and I treasure each opportunity. I plan to post again very soon with a link to some of the music that I have so enthusiastically endorsed. Maybe that will help you discover more of Gabriella Smith. She is someone I plan to follow as closely as possible. I hope you’re doing well, and yes, I’m hobbling very cautiously. 🙂

  16. Hope you are back to hopping, skipping and jumping!
    I would have been put off by that mass of mangled metal, or tangle of twisted tinfoil, but if the music evoked the images that follow it probably would have been worth it.
    My own listening is becoming more and more slanted back towards the old classics, with the exception of one completely modern young (very!) composer about whom I shall be blogging soon.

  17. Brave Grandma taking Karina to the concert despite what must have been a painful sprain. I’m a fairly new Grandpa, Leo will be 2 in June and already I enjoy his company so much. I hope I’m still capable of taking him to concerts when he’s 9.
    This was a lovely post, thank you Debra

  18. Amazing, ins’t it, how kids get straight to the point or to the details outside of the main scenery. I had to laugh a little about your granddaughter mentioning your chaperone. I hope your ankle is quickly getting ok again.

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about your ankle but so glad you were able to get to that impressive building with your granddaughter for the concert. What an incredible day out and amazing experience. She will remember that for a very long time. I hope your ankle is recovered and back to normal size xx

  20. Sounds like you had a great time Debra 🙂 I’m familiar with some of the works of Philip Glass including an earlier collaboration with Bowie – The Low Symphony.

    I hope your ankle has returned to normal size and is no longer troubling you.

  21. What a sweet experience Debra! I bet she will always remember her first concert with her Nanna even if some details pertained to your neighbor. How wonderful to be able to sit next to someone who is pleasant, it certainly makes the experience even more special. Glad you were able to carry on despite your injury.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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