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September 16, 2016


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I've been a musician all my life and I applaud your work ethic! A lot of non-musicians don't get the amount of work it takes to be able to (in my case) sit in the corner of the pub and play music for a few hours. There's more to public performance than competence - I still almost always get "the shakes" for the first song and I know of several famous performers who actually get sick to their stomachs before a performance. Just part of the gig for some of us. Also, thank you so much for "leaving the politics at that". It has definitely been "interesting"... In the interest of civility, I'll follow your lead and leave it at that too. :-)

Linda Vaughn

Great to hear from you again!

Indiana J

Great to hear from you. Please don't wait so long for the next blog.

Retired Syd

Lance: Thanks so much for your comment it helps to read that stuff. Especially about how much work it takes, I have to keep the faith that all this work will mean I WILL get better. You ARE saying that, right? But bummer about the shakes. I was hoping that would get better too!

Thanks Linda and Indiana--I'll try not to let so much time go by next time!


I'm always happy to see your posts! Thanks for the update and good for you for pursuing your dream. I understand the time writing a blog post can take but I hope you don't stay a way so long next time.

Tom Sightings

Thanks for the update. I admire your foray into the piano, but not politics (which I am studiously avoiding, since I find it all pretty inane). Btw, a bike trip in Indonesia . . . not bad!


Great 'postcard' Syd, I've really missed your blogs.
BTW - I don't think that 72 is too late to start touring for your piano concerts. Wang De Shun had his first cat walk at 79 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX4saxIfPYw)...so you'd be seven years ahead!
Good luck!

Still the Lucky Few

I think when it comes to the jazz piano, I'll stay at the unconscious incompetence stage. But when it comes to politics, I'm afraid I am hooked on the presidential race too. Lots of occasion for fear and loathing there!


Thanks for your blog. I binge-read the whole thing awhile back after coming here from the Mr Money Mustache's discussion boards. I'm 250 days from retirement today, and you and many others have been an inspiration for me. Thanks again and I look forward to future blog posts.

Retired Syd

Jenny: I always love it when someone tells me they binge-read my blog--thank you for that!
Lucky: What will you do with all that extra time after the election? Maybe I can get back into blogging then.
Donna: That's the kind of story I need!
Tom: I'm impressed that you are using your time more wisely. You're not missing anything educational, that's for sure!
Janis: Thank you and I'll try not to let so much time go by!


LOVE and enjoy your posts! I am trying to learn watercolor and I'm pretty sure it may take me to 72 to get in the brush-miles needed to feel even slightly competent. My blog takes a backseat to everything else as I adjust to the 'what to do' of retirement. Your posts make me realize that I am not the only one. I look forward to more posts whenever you find the inclination!


Good to hear from you!
How exciting to find some new relatives!

As for the piano- I would just enjoy it--and not worry about becoming a pro :) I miss my piano sometimes- ( took lessons my entire childhood thru high school and played for our high school choir). I never really loved it - but did not hate to practice either. I was definitely competent by the time I played for the choir in HS, but I had to practice - I did not have any natural talent to just sit down and play. We sold my piano 25 years ago when we were moving -since I never played it much once I started working. Sometimes I think about getting an electric piano after I retire- but I do not feel as passionate about the piano as you do. I am just as happy to let someone else do the playing.

Oh- the politics this year is keeping me occupied also. Especially since I am unsure of how the outcome will effect health insurance. I am still hoping to Pretire early next year. I listen to way too much NPR daily and my Doug tells me I would be in a better mood if I did not listen so much. Did you ever watch the program on public TV- the McLaughlin Group? We have watched it on Friday nights ( when it aired here) since we were first married--( I know, we are a little nerdy)Anyway- John McLaughlin, the moderator just passed away last month and I really miss the show.


Great to hear from you Syd!


The piano lessons are a wonderful idea. My husband was an architect and watercolorist and decided 3 years ago to try guitar. He had no musical training at all, didn't know a treble clef from a half note. After a year of plinking by himself (he wanted to learn something before he tried lessons) he found a wonderful classical guitar instructor and it's wonderful to see, and even hear. He works so hard, and after recent surgery, he was back practicing after one week.

This is a wonderful blog. I'll be back. (Retired in 2000)

Retired Syd

Norma: Good for him! A reader suggested a book I'm really enjoying, Your Brain on Music. Your husband might find it interesting. Welcome and thanks for your nice comment!


Good to see you here again, Syd.

I play the piano and the guitar. The piano is much tougher to maintain one's skills. I haven't played it for 12 years and it would take several weeks of daily playing for a few hours to get back up to something close to my former skill level. The guitar is like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it (I just hack away at chords while singing a melody).

As for politics, I hope you post something about the recent debate.

Retired Syd

Deegee: It makes me very happy to read that piano is tougher to maintain one's skills. It seems Doug can play so many more songs on the guitar than I can on the piano. I like to think it's not that I have no talent . . .

Now I'd love to write about the debate but I don't think I can stomach it. I will tell you that I'm going to hear Robert Reich speak tonight. The topic: The Oddest Presidential Election in Living History. That's putting it mildly!

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