Since my cello career is a bit up in the air, I’m trying out some new things. I’m brushing up on html and adding CSS via Code Academy to bolster my writing and copyediting skills. So far, so good: but I am miles behind people who are getting hired to do this stuff fluently.

I’ve long been enamored of home renovation and restoration, so yesterday I got to tag along on a home inspection. Like much of the industry, there are not many women doing this job. There seems to be a logical path to doing it professionally, and I could specialize in something that interests me (historic homes, for instance- they are complicated and many stay away from them) to make my niche. After riding along for one townhome inspection in Manassas, I’m not sure if it’s right for me, so I’m going again tomorrow. It’s not a final step, to be sure. What I think I’d like to do is respectful remodeling with a concentration on salvage/upcycling and efficiency. Next weekend, I’m taking a class on flooring and installing tile. It is strangely exciting.

I’m reading Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin, about a woman who was a successful writer in Boston who dropped everything and became a carpenter. Highly recommended and dangerously inspiring.

Here is actual video of me learning carpentry.

If my hand hadn’t crapped out, I think I would still be considering this jump. The thing about teaching is that being good at it does not earn you anything. Not respect, not money, not stability or opportunity- nothing. Being ethical is a liability. Being attached to outcomes only brings heartache. The ends haven’t met in years, and the degree I earned at the accepted behest of “common sense” has only drowned me in debt. And I’d nearly be okay with that if I felt like what I was doing was valued.  Aside from a small group of private students and folks I encounter at workshops, it has been made abundantly clear that any instruction I offer- be it music history, cello, English composition or something else- could be done by anybody else, and probably for less.


I can’t keep operating at a loss, financially or spiritually. The clock is ticking on my time in DC. Although I’m not sure what the interval will be until the gleaming Potomac is in my rear view mirror, so until then, I have to make the most of it.