learning to improvise

I did it! I got out my trumpet, dusted off the case and played, for the first time in years. It felt amazing. My daughter did not quite feel the same way, and came wandering in to my room with a very perplexed expression on her face

“what are you doing?”

“Playing my trumpet of course!”

“Why? Its so loud! You will disturb the neighbors!”

So, I put the mute in, which I just realized does not quite have the same meaning as mute does these days. The look of expectation, and then disappointment when the mute did not actually mute the sound completely was hilarious! Anyway it was slightly quieter, and gave that cool jazz sound, which is what I was aiming for, so I was happy. Keona on the other hand, just stomped off back to her room.

Perhaps that is partly why I have not played in so long! It is hard to play quietly, and when the kids were little I was probably trying not to make too much noise! Now, I do not care anymore, I want to play.

I decided that my aim should be learning to improvise, as that is something I never learned, and have always regretted. I love listening to jazz musicians jamming together, going with the flow, playing with the rhythm and chords. I was classically trained, and relied much too much on reading the music, even though initially, before taking classes, I used to play by ear.

Now, I find myself needing to completely retrain my brain.Not so easy at age 46! I found some videos online, and listened and played, and listened some more. I found Wynton Marsalis, my former idol and just wallowed in listening to him play for a while. He is so inspiring. I have a very long way to go before I am anywhere near that good, but at least I was still able to play, and follow along with the music.

My “lip” or embouchure is out of practice, and soon tired, so I could not play for too long. I could feel a familiar tingling in my lip that brought back good memories, of the days where I would play until my lips were so swollen. I looked like a freak,back then and my friends would mock me, I hated it, but now found comfort in the familiarity of it.

I put the trumpet carefully back in its case, and lay down on my bed to dream of when I was younger. Images floated through of  playing concerts all over Europe, and of the first year of living in Bali, where I caused quite a sensation by being the trumpet playing white girl in an otherwise all Balinese Reggae band..”Welcome to my paradise,where the skies are blue and the sun shines so bright!”




What I treasure most are my children. They mean the world to me, and despite causing some stress along the way, have also brought a great deal of joy. My second son turns 17 today, my eldest will be 19 this year, and is about to set off on a new adventure,so that leaves me with my 11 year old, who is growing up way too fast too. I treasure all the moments that we are together, as I know gradually they will all be spreading their wings. So here are a few memories of us all together

Sushi Tei

We went to Sushi Tei last night, it is a Japanese restaurant in quite an impressive building down on Sunset road. It was my son’s birthday and so we decided to treat ourselves. We arrived at around 7.30pm, which is clearly peak dinner hour, as we had to wait to be seated. I am not one to book anything, I always think I should be able to find a table anywhere. However, this is becoming less and less the case in the better restaurants in Bali these days.So, piece of advice from me, book ahead! Anyway, it was not so bad, we did not have to wait long, and when we did get in, we got a table right next to the revolving food.

This was an experience in itself, food just keeps coming round, and you can take whatever you want. I am not sure how the billing works, I think the plates are color coded, as our bill had several colors listed! Anyway, we helped ourselves to various plates of sushi rolls, as well as Sashimi as they came past, and also ordered a few dishes from the menu. For drinks, we had various flavored teas, and as  I have never tried Sake, we decided to try a small bottle. It was interesting, but I do not think I would order it again. Not really my taste.

We even got a Japanese style sushi birthday cake! Everything was served very promptly and we all felt very satisfied at the end. For a family of 5 the bill came to AUS$100 which is really not a bad deal. I would highly recommend going, especially for a special occasion, just do not forget to book!


In an attempt to get back in to blogging, and honing my writing talents, I am committing to writing at least 500 words every day for 31 days. It is a huge commitment, considering I have let this blog slide for quite a few months. However, I need a challenge, and a focus. I have been living in a haze for too long, and it is time to wake up and start doing what I love the most.

It is so easy to get caught up in life, being a mum to 3 kids, and working full time, as well as trying to make some extra money on the side. It can all become a bit overwhelming, and unfortunately it is the things that I do for myself that get pushed aside every time. Someone reminded me the other day that we should make sure that we are happy, as that is the only way that we can be there for others. These are very wise words. I always get caught up in making sure everyone else is happy, that I neglect myself. It is not about being selfish, but about taking care, and nurturing our own souls. As women, we do not tend to do that enough.

So I am going to write, as through writing, I feel alive. I am also going to delve in to music again. I used to be a musician, which sounds like such a strange thing to say, but its true. I was, and then one day I just stopped. I am not sure why, but I have a feeling I used it as a tool, a way of proving myself to my family, of showing I had worth. I got to a point where I no longer needed to prove anything, so I let it go. Now, I would like to start again, and do it for pleasure, and nothing else.

My instrument of choice? The trumpet. The reason? because back then, in the 80’s I did not know any other girls that played it, so this was the perfect way to make my point, I may only be a girl, but I was going to be a girl that could beat boys in their own field. I could not compete with my brother academically, but I could do it this way. So I did. It felt good too, until I realized I did not need to beat him. He may be ridiculously intelligent, but he is still human, and we found ways to connect on different levels. Moreover, once we were away from our parents, the competition for their approval was also diminished.

Diminished, but not gone. I still have a part of me that yearns for approval, but I am working on that. One step at a time. Being far away helps, as I do not have the constant judgement on a daily basis. Bali has allowed me to find some inner peace, and to let go of trying to seek attention and approval.




Water has a very calming effect on me, I love to sit on the beach and watch the waves roll in, or on a jetty on a lake and watch the boats row by. In Bali we have beaches galore and several lakes to appease this need of mine..20160223_17502720160508_13063020160704_151512