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DAVID Hi! I'm the dad. I'm also
the novice web site designer who put this page together. I'm into
a few things, such as:
Being a Dad: OK, my girls are now all grown up and out of the house, but I still don't have grandkids, so I continue to treasure my rainbow "DAD" cup that Rachel got for me maaaaaany years ago ....
Musical Theater: I was the latecomer to drama in the family, but after my
youngest daughter got us involved at
Patio Playhouse through
their marvelous "Youtheatre"
program, I was recently honored to be given the lead in their adult
performance of "The
Pajama Game". I've been the
vocal coach for a terrific Jewish youth musical theater
group, and still do some individual coaching.
Dead Emperors: Also known by
the more prosaic name of "Ancient Coin Collecting, with
focus on the Roman Imperial Era". I've managed to put together a
(mostly low-grade but still cool) sequence of portrait coins of the first 49 Roman emperors, as
well as a specialty collection of coins pertaining to ancient Judaean history. To learn more about my collecting
"habit", click the title of this section. Or you
can go directly to
truly excellent ancient-coin site
by Kevin Barry.
Writing: When I grow up, I want to be a professional fiction writer.
So far, I've written some SF short stories, poetry, and the
occasional essay in my "copious free time". I'm about 1/3 of the way through
my first novel, which I started 20 years ago.
Skiing: We got dragged on a ski trip about
seventeen years ago by some friends. For a while, I was skiing several times a year, dragging the family up to Snow Summit and/or Mountain High, but after Rachel went off to CU Boulder and I learned what REAL Colorado Skiing was like, I try to visit Rachel periodically during ski season as a thinly-veiled excuse to work in a ski trip to Eldora or Arapahoe Basin.
Playing: A few years back, Uncle Lou moved to
Florida, but left his violin here with us. Well, despite lots of "good
advice" to the contrary, I decided to take some lessons, and I've made
surprisingly good progress for someone of my "mature" years -- I'm to the
point where people no longer run from the room holding their ears when I
Barbershop Chorus and
Quartet Singing: I have directed two mid-sized choruses, and
have sung in a number of competitive and performing quartets
over the past 45 years, collecting two District championships and three
International bronze medals in the process. I took an extended leave of
absence because barbershopping is hard for a father to share with daughters. I did keep my hand in by putting together an informal Jewish-themed group called "The Mensch Tones", but I also ended my hiatus after my girls left home, and I am about to start up as the director of the "San Marcos Music Men", and I'm singing in a competitive quartet named "Behind the Barn"..
The Garstang Family Singers: We've put together a variety musical act,
which performs on occasion for worthy causes, including local nursing homes,
barbershop shows, and charitable organizations. My roles were: 1)
Play guitar; 2) Sing; 3) Talk on stage; 4) Bug everyone else
to practice. But with one daughter in the San Francisco Bay area and the other in Colorado, we rarely find opportunities to perform together any more, sniff ...
MARLENE is the Mom. She's currently into:
Educational Technology: She has earned a Master's in this field from San Diego
State University, hauling down a very impressive 4.0 GPA, and is doing
part-time consulting and contract work in the field.
Getting Into Shape: She's setting a
fine example (which I'm steadfastly ignoring)!
Being a Mom: She wanted me
to mention that this is her "single most important
role." Because of this, she was a part-time student at SDSU, and waited until her youngest was in Kindergarten
before seeking work.
The Garstang Family Singers: Marlene is an
excellent piano player, and she sings pretty good, too! She
usually opens the act with a lively rendition of "The Maple Leaf Rag".
She sings (including a duet with me on "Jamaica
Farewell") and provides accompaniment. I'm also
hoping to talk her into polishing up one or more of her
impressive piano performance pieces to add to the act.
JENNY is the Big Sister. She's currently into:
College Life! Sometime when I
wasn't looking, she grew up! After maintaining an alarmingly good GPA
in High School, she got accepted to the
University of Southern California (USC), among others. USC was her
final choice because it's a phenomenal school that doesn't try to
"pigeonhole" the students too early. It didn't hurt that they offered
her some healthy scholarships, and that it's closer to home than the other
contenders. Jenny has taken to college life like a fish to water.
She's loving the academic challenge, has made many friends, and (could it
be?) she has even found a pretty serious boyfriend!
Jenny continues to work on her harp playing, and is building up her
repertoire in preparation for earning extra money as a paid harpist.
She will be taking voice lessons through the USC music department starting
Winter, 2006, and is strongly considering either a musical theater or music
performance (voice) minor. This will also give her access to
classes on her other musical passion, composition.
Writing: Jenny has finished her first novel, and is looking for a
publisher. Meanwhile, she's already got plans for her next work, a
really intense trilogy. She is also a poet, and in her younger days was
honored in the "Border Voices" program by having her poem published in that year's anthology and being invited to
publicly read it at the annual gathering.
While there, she was inspired to write several new poems, one
of which got noticed by Jack Webb, an editor of the San Diego
Union; he wrote an article about it for the August, 1999 issue of San Diego
Karate: Jenny continues to take Karate
lessons, time permitting.
The Garstang Family Singers: When in town, Jenny is still one of
the stars of the family act. She is a "triple threat", with
her dynamite singing, superb harp playing, and performance of her own
compositions. If I'm good, she rewards me by
allowing me to sing a duet with her ...
the Little Sister. She's currently into:
Hebrew School: Rachel is
working toward her Bat Mitzvah at Temple
which is scheduled for 2007.
Middle School: She's on the advanced
math track, and is really into science, percussion (in band), and Egyptian
Dancing: She's a "natural". The
most recent addition to her skills is belly dancing, a style for which she
has shown a rather alarming (to her father) talent.
Percussion: Rachel's recently acquired musical
passion involves banging things with sticks. (She hates it when I say
that ...) She has signed up as one of the percussionists for her
middle school band, and is really enjoying it! She wants to continue
with flute too, but drumming and playing the bells are her
main musical endeavors at the moment.
The Garstang Family Singers: Rachel has been a part of the family
act since before she could sing, charming the audiences with her rendition
of the poem "Mice". Now, though, she's developed into an excellent
singer, knocking them dead with Pop classics like "Bobby's Girl" and musical
theater hits like "Castle On a Cloud" (Les Miserables). We're still
trying to figure out how to work her new love of percussion into the act.
THE MENAGERIE -- the various creatures that
enrich our lives:
Precious: Our oldest surviving cat, a long-haired
silver tabby, she was adopted several years ago from the (now
no longer existent) Rancho Bernardo Petco. Originally shy and aloof,
she has mellowed with age, and has now become quite affectionate.
Our beautiful Balinese (long-haired Siamese) has gone on
"extended walkabout". He has always been one to sneak out for a few
days of carousing, but he's now been gone since early October (2005).
We've checked the shelters and put up posters throughout the neighborhood,
but we're starting to suspect it may be permanent. We miss him very
For Jenny's 16th birthday (November 15, 2003), we let her
drive us out to the
Animal Center. While there, we met a wonderfully sweet medium
sized black dog. I hadn't really wanted a dog, but the girls had been
asking for a long time. Another couple who had arrived just after us
had shown interest in him, so I suggested that there was really no reason to
wait since we'd already found the "best of all possible dogs". He
continues to grow more loving every day, and we have never regretted
bringing him home that same evening.
Our parrotlet (a tiny green parrot smaller than a
parakeet) Kiwi packs a huge personality into a tiny little body.
When Rachel's hamster passed away from old age, I
suggested we check out rats. I remember my own, from my childhood,
with much fondness. They are highly affectionate, intelligent, and
very hardy. So now we have invited Shyiina into our home, and she has
fit right in!