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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I have to write

I don't want to write, but I'm dealing with so much stress that I need to.

First, recovery: I finally saw a doctor last Wednesday, as my earlier post stated. This evening I began the eighth of ten days' doses of Augmentin XR. I've been mostly off Sudafed and Advil for a few days now. My left ear is still ringing, and the hearing is not as keen as I'd like, but I'm walking around vertically, if slowly.

I extend my deep thanks to my associate, to whom I look(ed) for direction at work. He encouraged me to stay home on Monday and Tuesday, when I felt healthy but very weak, and driving 55 minutes to and from work might have been a hazard. Today I felt really terrible waking up at six in the morning, but driving has not been a problem. I even got back into the Italian lessons from Pimsleur, doing both units 5 and 6 of Italian II twice each.

Now the shocker: I'm more or less looking for a project again. I really appreciate working for this division of IBM, where being on the bench doesn't mean I'm instantly at intense risk of losing my job. I got the news on Tuesday that my project has laid down the law: all technical resources must possess certain credentials which I don't yet possess. There's nothing further I can do about it but pray: I'm in the pipeline already, and it's just a matter of being patient for a few months while my case is processed. But the customer has made their point clearly, and so I'm no longer useful on this project.

This is, of course, a source of more insane stress. I haven't had an office to work in for about a year now, and a few boxes of my computer belongings and several shelves of computer books are cluttering up our house. In the last few weeks I had been assigned a cubicle on this project, and had started to slowly, cautiously move in. I haven't been told to move out yet, but for now I'm working in another location, with no assigned space, and so I once again have to carry whatever I might need with me to work every day and home again every evening.

For the short term (or perhaps longer) I've found a place to be useful doing HR-type work for the non-technical side of the project. I spent this afternoon processing resumés. But I don't know how long I'll be able to be useful there.

All this comes as such a stark contrast after Chamber Music Weekend and the GC International Brass Choir. Both of those were events providing intense flow, a feel of being very useful, very capable, and of doing what I was created to do: make music.

I've thought about making a radical career change, like going into music teaching. I think I have potential skills as a teacher, whether of music, computer skills or some other subject. But teaching is not the same as doing, and it's become clear that making music is where I truly excel. How can I make a living making music?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

One day's exposure to mountains…

…is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers' plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul. - John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

…and I think pretty highly of books. Thanks to Anu Garg for attaching this quote to his A Word A Day mailing for yesterday.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm back! -- mostly

I spent Friday and Sabbath in St. Louis, MO, being part of the international brass choir at our General Conference sessions. It was a fantastic experience, made possible by two friends who have proven that they stick closer than a brother. I went into it with two days worth of sore throat and mild fever, and these guys gave me the strength and help to persevere to the end.

We had a group of nearly 40 brass players from Germany, around the US, and Montemorelos, Mexico. I played tuba, and felt that I made a valuable contribution. Playing with these friends was a fantastic experience, and I'm already trying to come up with reasons to meet with them on a more frequent basis, as well as to maintain ties so we can get together for the Atlanta session in 2010. (If the world hasn't ended by then.)

We got back around 9 AM Sunday morning, and Vicki sent me straight to bed. My sore throat had been blown into a real ear infection, and as we drove through the mountains on I-68 I had noticed that my ears failed to repressurize at the 2700-ft passes we drove through. Sunday and Monday (Independence Day) we rested strenuously, and on Tuesday we started trying to find a doctor. I haven't seen an MD since we moved from Atlanta in 2001, although sometime since then I've had to select a Primary Care Physician. Our records of that selection have vanished into the mists of time, and our initial phone calls were poorly timed.

It wasn't until this morning (Wednesday) that we finally reached a doctor who was both open for business and willing to take new patients. When we got in to see him he confirmed that I have a serious ear infection and should plan to stay home from work for the rest of this week, and he gave me a prescription for Nyquil and for Augmentin XR, 1000mg, which provides 1000mg of Amoxicillin and 62.5mg of Clavulanic acid. He said to call him back if I wasn't noticing an improvement by Friday afternoon.

So, here I lie, wincing when I swallow and wiggling my jaw around, trying to clear my ear canals. I'm also sucking on Halls Sugar Free Black Cherry cough drops, which I think are about the most perfect cough drop created yet. Go Black Cherry!

In the meantime, my parents and at least parts of the New England Youth Ensemble are in St. Louis getting ready to play this weekend. I envy them: I miss orchestral playing, and the musical focus needed for an event like this is a beautiful experience, even when you're under the weather.

If you want to catch some of the performances, try watching them via the internet at the Hope Channel or 3ABN, which are both also available via certain satellite subscriptions.

Vicki promised to make soup tonight using Pepper Jack cheese (yum!), and the salsa heat should help to unstuff my nasal passageways. Here's hoping it works on eustachian tubes too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Wise words from Kipling

regarding Dane-geld.