a lot can happen in a year. one of my favorite questions from students is: "so, how do you improvise?" it's also one of my least favorite questions. answering the question itself relies on the art of improv. how do you have a conversation with someone? do you recognize your friends' speech patterns? do you recognize familiar voices on the phone (without looking at caller i.d.)? do you listen a lot? do your friends listen a lot? do they talk on and on and on sometimes without stopping for responses, or even air? do you? do you sometimes get into a car and ride silently for miles and no one minds? are you funny? serious? do you respond to others' with thoughtfulness? do you talk over each other without really paying attention all the way? maybe we all do all of those things some of the time. maybe we play lines that are completely unrelated to the harmony, intentionally or unintentionally. or maybe we always play right inside the harmony without any risks. our ears tell us what to do. we just have to teach that to our hands and fingers. i got married, bought a house, didn't know i was going to do any of that. my dog betty and i got a step-cat. we got a new groove. and even though it's ours forever, (no one can actually take that away) we can make changes and reharmonizations and get haircuts and buy a car and laugh and throw up and vote and celebrate and watch baseball and renew our vows and paddle a canoe and slide on a boogie board in the snow and not get hurt and a lot can happen in a year. happy thanksgiving.