Saturday, October 31, 2009

Housekeeping

I have no idea why the blog layout is so screwy....but I'm working on it...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking the veil

I talk about the idea of veiling for Mass here.

A lot of threads

Recently I haven't been writing as much because I've been doing a lot of thinking. (I know, me, thinking, this is a shocking thing.)
There are so many things I want to finish--the book(s), my MA. I want to have order in my apartment and in life in general. I want to have a fruitful spiritual life. I want to do my job well, I want to be a good friend. There are lots of things I want. Of course a lot of these things also benefit others.
How do I make time for all of this?
I've been reading various blogs and websites, and I think I have a general idea. My time needs to be spent doing things that really contribute to my life goals--writing, music, prayer, study, being with my friends and family. Everything else is sort of....second. It's not that it's not important, it's just not as important.

Whoa

Patch jobs on lungs before transplant

I'm going to hope this didn't happen to me. Although I know that my lungs were too big, and needed trimmed, as it were.

Sobering stat from the article: barely 50% of lung tx patients make it to 5 years.
I'm almost there!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner with the Chief Justice

A fun story for your Tuesday:
October 26, 2009, 10:05 AM

Waiter, There’s a Gavel in My Soup

John G. Roberts Jr.
My writer friend Sidney Offit and I were dining at Lumi’s on 70th Street and Lexington Avenue on Saturday night with our mutual friend, the enduringly beautiful 78-year-old modelCarmen Dell’Orefice; and seated next to our table, quietly engaged in conversation with his wife, Jane, while sipping red wine, was the chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr.
Although it was raining heavily outside — so much so that the Yankees‘ playoff game at the stadium was called off — Lumi’s restaurant had few cancellations, and every table was occupied when the chief justice and Mrs. Roberts arrived to receive, as is standard in New York, barely a nod of recognition from the onlookers and not a trace of effusion from the waiters, most particularly those who lent service to the justice. It is one of those clich├ęs in Manhattan to remark upon the restaurant population’s indifference to celebrities of any kind, ever.
We at our table, true to form, paid the Roberts couple no mind, although after two hours of pretending not to notice them, we were certainly respectful (and grateful) when, as they stood to leave, the chief justice himself said: “Excuse me, but we cannot possibly finish this wonderful bottle of wine, and I wonder if you’d like to try it.”
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Chief Justice,’’ I replied, and then added my own admonishment (how brazen of me!) “… but only if you’ll sign the label.’’
Unhesitatingly, Chief Justice Roberts removed from his jacket pocket a ballpoint pen, and scribbled on the label his name: “John Roberts.’’
After they had left, and we were about to leave, I handed the autographed (half-empty) bottle to Carmen. She was pleased to carry it home. On the label read “Chianti Classico 2005,” from Villa Mangiacane.
“It’s from Firenze,’’ she explained, adding that this is the region of her ancestry. She had a renowned uncle from there, she went on to say — Enzo Dell’Orefice, a voice coach who tutored Caruso.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XVI


I.
OK, so this is really more "Seven Quick Takes" weekend, but I was a bit busy on Friday, hanging with my brother. Our parents were out of town, so we went to Uno's for dinner, then back to our parents' for some movie watching. Bryan had never seen the Lord of the Rings movies, so we watched the first one. I normally don't watch that one, because my favorite character is Eowyn, and she's not in that one. So I had forgotten how long that version is--even in the theatrical release! (I only have one--Return of the King--in the extended version.) But Bryan seemed to like it, so we'll have to get in the other two soon.

II.
My grandpa was discharged from the hospital yesterday, so that is great news. My mom is staying with my grandparents this week, and my dad will go pick her up next weekend. So it's just my dad and brother at home this week, which means I might get to cook for them, which I really like doing. They like fish and mushrooms, two things my mom doesn't like, so when she's gone I get to make those things for them. But I do miss mom.

III.
Speaking of food, I made my favorite salmon dish last night after a run to the North Market. It's sort of becoming a habit to go there on Saturdays (with, seemingly, the rest of the city), and it's so much fun to pick and choose what to buy and see all the tasty things for sale.

IV.
Yesterday was wretched in Ohio--the sort of grey and ugly fall days I hate. But it was an excellent day to stay inside, bake, watch college football, and finish the LOTR movies. :)

V.
This week is pretty busy--blood draw to check thyroid stuff, cooking/laundry with dad and Bryan, voice on Thursday, and then Jackets/Penguins game on Friday. That should be really exciting, since both teams are doing well, and I'm looking forward to it. Dad and I are going together. He took me to my first Penguins game when I was seven (Pens versus Whalers, Pens lost), and we still go to games together. It's a good thing.

VI.
Speaking of voice--lessons are going really well. I think Robin and I have found a new audition piece--we'll find out at  my next lesson! We have to chop the song into 16 bars, because that's what most auditions require. Whoever came up with 16 bars ought to be racked. I mean, come on--show range, emotion, style, etc. in 16 measly bars? Ridiculous.

VII.
Auditions: I've got two in the next two months. One for Pleasure Guild's Music Man, and one for Gallery Player's Company. Music Man is in November, and Company is right before Christmas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quick Friday note

OK y'all--7 Quick Takes up later tonight.
First--dinner and movies w/ the bro. LOTR is tonight's perferred viewing, and yes, it'll look pretty sweet on my parents' much larger (than mine) TV.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prayers, please

Could y'all please pray for my grandfather? He's in the hospital for tests, which is no fun at any time, and even less fun when you're 85.
Both my grandparents have been huge influences on me, both spiritually and musically. Both of them attend daily Mass and sing in their parish choir. Pa (as we call him) is a member of St. VIncent de Paul, and my grandma plays the piano at Mass sometimes. My grandpa is also a composer/music teacher, who is the one responsible for all of my aunts and uncles (and my mom) being instrumentalists. He also has perfect pitch and tunes our piano whenever he comes down.
Neither of them have missed any of my theater/talent show/choir performances. And they raised 8 kids on one salary.
Yeah, they both rock.
My parents are going up there this weekend to visit the fam. So any prayers, etc. are appreciated. There are a whole bunch of us that still want--and need--him around. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Biopsy results

OK here's the news from the biopsy:
The samples were benign, so YAY, nothing huge to worry about, like cancer.
Julie wants a thyroid panel blood draw, so I am going tomorrow after work to the Children's Lab, where this will be drawn. This will give us more information about what the Crazy Gland is up to.
Dr. W, my ENT, also wants a thyroid ultrasound every six months, for monitoring purposes. This is A-OK, because the ultrasounds are 1) easy and 2) the waiting room has good magazines.
So, all in all, not bad. Let's keep it that way.

House and Catholics

I take on Catholicism on last night's House episode here.

More Swan Notes


Some more thoughts that I couldn’t cram into the Supersized Culture Cat on Friday.
    • Here is a post where I write about Odette’s tutu. All the work that goes into ONE—and there were 34 Swans on the stage! What a feat of costuming. Just when I think that everything is going to computers (or China), I see things like this coming out of our local costume shops.
    • The BalletMet costume shop, by the way, is amazing. When I interviewed with BalletMet, I got a tour of the facilities. The costume shop was one of the spots. There are huge wooden work tables, industrial washers and driers, fitting areas, and (the best part), an entire long room full of costumes, tagged with dancers names, the shows they’re a part of, and character tags. It’s a little girl’s dream of a dress-up trunk.
    • As with the CSO concert the week before, the performers received a long and loud standing ovation. The only dancers who took bows were the corps of swans, the cygnets, the big swans, Von Rothbart, Odile, Siegfried, and Odette. I thought that was a bit odd—what about the men and the kids?—but now that I think about it, they probably couldn’t all fit on the stage!
    • All these standing ovations I’ve seen lately have been well deserved. Sometimes, among theater/music cognoscente, there’s disdain attached to SOs—that they should be reserved for the truly exceptional. Well, what if you’re seeing a lot of exceptional? The Beethoven 9th—very excellent. Swan Lake—superb. They all deserved SOs, and I’m glad they got them.
    • There were props in this ballet. That’s not something I’ve seen very often. Fans, , cups, crossbows, tables for the cups—that was a lot of property. Whoever the stage manager is/was, excellent work. I bet the wings were super-crowded!
    • Next BalletMet performance: Night Moves, a collection of pieces, at the BalletMet performance space on Mt. Vernon Avenue. Opening night is Nov. 6, and ticket information can be found here. The black box theater is an intimate, yet casual venue, perfect for up-close-and-personal dance experiences. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Updates

Or, rather, no updates...
When I had the biopsy last week, the initial thought was that the bumps/lumps/whatever they weres were just cysts and benign ones at that.
I have not received any updated pathology information. Just wanted y'all to know so you weren't wondering. :)

The Simple Woman's Daybook--October 19, 2009




Outside My Window ...

Sunny and the leaves are pretty close to peak color. They are fantastic!!!

***
I am listening to...
Loreena McKennit, "The Book of Secrets" (I'm ADDICTED, I tell you. Addicted.)

***
To Live the Liturgy...
Rosary, Magnificat, Bible reading, classes, and re-reading Rediscovering Catholicism for my Faith Sharing Group. I also got my Advent companion from Magnificat today. Can you believe in about a month, it will be the first week of Advent?!

***
To Fit and Happy...

Gym and ballet this week. If I achieve ONE day of gym, and ballet class, I will be happy.

***
I am thankful for...
beautiful fall days.
***

I am pondering ...
the rest of the day's schedule
***
From the kitchen ...

Made orzo pasta with saffron and shrimp last night, and had the leftovers for lunch. So probably just soup and sandwich for dinner. I'm sort of "eating down the kitchen" this week.

I am wearing ...
Brown tights, a heather khaki skirt from J. Jill, and a cashmere sweater from Talbots (in this fantastic color called "raven", it's a great blue. I want everything they have in this color, but I'm restraining myself.)

***
I am creating ...
The memoir; music (voice lesson practicing)

***
On my iPod...
The "random" Setting. :) (Or shuffle. Whatever)

***

I am thinking...
that it's shaping up to be a good week.

***
Around the House
More clearing of the kitchen table.

.***

I am reading ...
W.H. Auden's poems; The Amish Cook's Baking Book. (It is awesome. Believe me.)

***
I am hoping and praying ...
for friends who are undergoing cancer treatments.
***

On Keeping Home ...

these candles look awesome. (keeping this link because they are awesome)


***
One of my favorite things ...
baking


***
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Possibly Opera Columbus this weekend--they're doing Pagliacci. 
W: Ballet
Th: Voice


A picture thought I am sharing:

Jerome Bettis and Mario at the Steelers game yesterday. Two of my favorite sports people.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Culture Cat--BalletMet/Cincinnati Ballet's "Swan Lake"


BalletMet Dancer Carrie West as Odette--photo courtesy of BalletMet


BalletMet opened its 2009-2010 season tonight with a bang--a massive production of Swan Lake, performed in conjunction with Cincinnati Ballet. In front of a large, very appreciative audience at the Ohio Theater, both ballet companies performed to their absolute best and presented a new version of "the most classic of Classical Ballets", while still remaining true to the ballet's core.

With well over 40 professional dancers, and 30 dancers from the BalletMet academy, this production is much larger than BalletMet's last presentation of Swan Lake (David Nixon's version, in 2004). While the sheer number could be overwhelming in less capable hands, the choreographic trio of Gerard Charles (BalletMet artistic director), Victoria Morgan (Artistic Director/CEO of Cincinnati Ballet) and Devon Carney (Associate Artistic Director, Cincinnati Ballet) take this wonderful cornucopia of dancers and mold them into a cohesive and thrilling whole.  In short: Swan Lake is a stunning example of the transportive power of dance.

In the remaking, there are a few nods to other classical ballets--Siegfried (danced tonight by new BalletMet company member Andres Esteves) wears a blue costume in Act I, which is reminiscent of Rudolph Nureyev's Swan Lake costume, and the mesmerizing first entrance of the swan maidens seems to borrow from La Bayadere's "Kingdom of the Shades." I'm not sure if these were purposeful allusions, but if they were, I loved them.

Our doomed lovers this evening were danced by Carrie West, a BalletMet veteran, and Mr. Esteves (as always with BalletMet shows, casts rotate). Mr. Esteves joined BalletMet from the National Cuban Ballet this year, and one would imagine that coming from Cuba to Columbus, OH, would require a bit of a cultural adjustment. But, as Mr. Esteves said during a post-show question and answer period, the language of classical ballet is the same everywhere. In his first outing with BalletMet, Mr. Esteves gave a bravura performance as the conflicted Prince Siegfried, who must marry, but is not in love with any of the pretty courtiers and princesses who flood his court. Esteves is a brilliant dancer and actor, which is hard to accomplish, and conveys Siegfried's reluctance, curiosity, despair, and joy once he finds his love.

During a hunting trip with his best friend, Benno (danced by Cincinnati Ballet principal dancer Cervilio Miguel Amador), and other men of the court, Siegfried discovers the "Swan Lake" and aims his crossbow at an approaching swan.

This isn't just any Swan--this is Odette, Queen of the Swans, who have been enchanted by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart (danced with impressive athleticism by BalletMet's Jimmy Orrante). They are doomed to be Swans during the day, but maidens at night. Only enduring love can break the spell.

I have seen Ms. West in a variety of productions, from world premiers (Dracula, where she danced the prim Victorian turned undead vampire Lucy Westerna) to the foundations of classical ballet (Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty). She has always been one of my favorite dancers, but tonight she was a revelation. Every movement was technically sound and brilliantly acted. Her transformation, from swan to maiden, and back again, was true artistry, as were her brilliant pas des deux with Esteves. Rock-solid technique gives her a foundation to present truly emotional and glorious performances. I have never seen a dancer like her, who seems born to dance the classical repertoire. Not only is she a gorgeous dancer, but she is gracious and kind in person. During the post-show Q&A she answered a question from a little girl regarding how many pointe shoes she went through per show (Answer: two), and signed autographs afterwards. She must have been exhausted, but didn't show it.

The corps of Swan Maidens, who attend Odette, arrive. While Benno and the other men aim their crossbows, Odette rushes in to protect her maidens; Siegfried tells them to go elsewhere. Act I ends with Siegfried pledging his love to Odette, who turns back into a swan as dawn arrives.

Act II opens with a royal ball, where Siegfried, by order of his mother (Susan Brooker), must choose a bride. Six women are presented to him--in a glorious touch of comedy, they joust for position, each striving to be the one who catches Siegfried's eye. But he only has eyes for Odette-until a new guest, and his daughter, arrive.

Von Rothbart, seeing the Prince's love for Odette, and knowing that this love would break his power over all the swans, has come to the party, bringing his daughter, Odile (BalletMet's Zoica Tovar), who is enchanted to look like Odette. Thus fooled, Siegfried dances joyfully with her, and pledges his love. Odette rushes in, heartbroken, and Siegfied realizes his mistake--but too late.

In most productions, Odette and Odile are danced by the same person, in order for the 'illusion' to be complete. In Nixon's 2004 version, they were danced by separate women--Nixon said that he didn't want Siegfried's mistake to be a simple one--he wanted to make it much more than just a mix-up. In this production, Charles decided to again have them danced by separate women, and they are, indeed, quite separate. Odette is graceful, shy, protective of her swan maidens, and enduringly feminine. All her movements are elegant. Odile is sexy, athletic, and daring. Ms. Tovar's eyes are some of the most dramatic I have ever seen in a dancer--as Esteves spun her during their pas, her eyes flashed with glee at the audience. She knew what she was doing.

After Siegfried's betrayal, Odette rushes to the lake, where her maidens comfort her. Siegfried has followed her, and, kneeling before her, begs forgiveness. The heartbroken Odette forgives him, and they dance an achingly sad pas with the swan maidens around them. They both know what will happen to Odette, now that Siegfried has pledged his love elsewhere.

Von Rothbart appears to take Odette. She valiantly tries to protect Siegfried, but the two men fight, and, at the end, Odette throws herself off a cliff in despair. Unable to live without his love, Siegfried follows suit, thus demonstrating the enduring love that breaks Von Rothbart's power over the swans. As the swan maidens advance on the evil sorcerer, he flees, and the swans become young maidens again. Snow falls from the sky, and we see an apotheosis of Siegfried and Odette, together eternally in the sky.

(It is a wonderful story, isn't it?)

Odette and Siegfried were really perfect tonight. They partnered together beautifully-there were some one-handed lifts that Esteves accomplished that truly seemed other worldly. I don't think I have ever seen Ms. West partnered so well, except with her husband, former BalletMet dancer Dmitri Suslov. Esteves also answered several questions during the Q&A and stopped to talk with some patrons (including one who spoke Spanish). As tired as he must have been, he remained personable and friendly--a very gracious performer.

In any Grand Ballet, there are what's called divertissments--essentially, dances for the company dancers that don't really add anything to the story, but do show off impressive technical/artistic skills. (Almost the entire second act of Nutcracker, and much of the end of Sleeping Beauty is all this sort of dancing.) But it doesn't need to advance the plot to be fun! BalletMet's students shone in the first act, where the "waltz girls", "courtiers" and "pages" danced with aplomb (the pages were adorable). The Neopolitian, Spanish, and Hungarian dances at the royal party were excellent examples of luscious costumes (especially the flamenco dresses) and diverse dance styles. (The female Hungarian dancers wore character shoes, instead of pointe shoes, for their piece.) The Princesses were hysterically amusing as they vied for Siegfried's attention, and were appropriately put out when the glamorous Odile arrived.

Odile's dancing is athletic, bold, and even a bit sexy. Ms. Tovar is also a new addition to BalletMet. Most of her dancing was excellent, but in her first pas with Siegfried, her supporting leg shook on every balance and releve. It was sort of distracting, but it corrected itself as the act went on. Her fouettes and pirouettes were wonderful. Orrante was, as usual, brilliant in the role of the evil sorcerer who will do everything to advance his own agenda at the expense of Odette and the Swan Maidens' happiness.

Finally, one must give major applause to the Swan Maidens. All of them were simply wonderful--technically sound, artistically perfect. The Cygnets--four swan maidens who danced several divertissements--were stunning. Their first appearance in Act I, where they joined their hands in a criss-cross pattern and executed elaborate footwork as they progressed down the stage, was marvelous. The "Big Swans" danced lovely duets together. In the party scenes, I loved watching Samantha Lewis and Dustin James (both of BalletMet) in the Neopolitan dance.

Lighting was designed by Trad A Burns, Cincinnati Ballet's lighting designer, and was marvelous, especially at the end, when Siegfried and Odette are bathed in a golden spotlight. The costumes, done by both company's costume shops, were just divine. So many colors, fabrics, and lengths! Hats, tambourines, feathered fans....what the costume department came up with was incredible. The lush fall colors of the opening scene gave way to cooler tones for the princesses, and Siegfried and Odile's matching costumes in Act II was an inspired stroke of design.

I know that this is much longer than my usual review, but there is just so much to compliment and rave about in Swan Lake. All you really need to know, though, is this--go see it. You will not be disappointed.

(Oh, and another note--GREAT crowd, lots of kids. Even saw my pastor. I loved the little ballerinas who asked for Carrie West's autograph post show.)

BalletMet and Cincinnati Ballet present "Swan Lake", at the Ohio Theater, Oct. 17 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 18, at 2:00 pm. Ticket prices begin at $29 and can be purchased at the CAPA box office (next door to the theater) before showtime. 

Happy stuff!

(about time, right?)
Over here.

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XV



I.
So, I did this yesterday. And I am going to the oral surgeon to have the rest of the stitches removed today. I'm sort of a walking medical experiment right now!

II.
But, what makes me really happy? The arts are back in Columbus! The new seasons have begun and I'm  enjoying it immensely.  I went to the CSO's first classical concert last week, and tonight is Swan Lake, presented by BalletMet and the Cincinnati Ballet. If you don't have tickets, never fear! You can get them tonight! The show runs in Columbus until Sunday. I will, as always, have a post about the ballet up tonight when I get back.

III.
Re-reading J. Maarten Troost's travel books, because I need some funny lately. If you haven't read them, check them out.

IV.
And if you haven't seen this video, that I posted yesterday, it is well worth your time.

V.
Feeling OK after yesterday's biopsy. There was a little bit of total "I don't care" as a result of the drugs, meaning: "The world is ending? Oh, that's nice." It's sort of a strange and yet fun feeling. Dr. Hogan thinks they're benign cysts but we'll find out for sure when we get the pathology report next week.

VI.
The autumn colors here ROCK. I'll try to get some good pics to put up later. The trees are losing their leaves pretty quick, but the ones that are left are gorgeous.

VII.
Had dinner with my Aunt Patty last night, who was in town to pick up her daughter, Kelly. We celebrated Mel's birthday at Olive Garden (she turns 20 tomorrow, yikes!) and it was quite nice. Kelly goes to UM, but she has friends that live in Pickerington (friends of my brother's, as well) who would take her here, and her mom would pick her up and bring her home. A roundabout way to get back to the Burgh for her, but it's always nice to see the relatives.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biopsy 101

So, today was thyroid biopsy day (oh, rejoice!).
Mom arrived at the apartment around 8:25, and we reached children's around 9:00. My appointment was at 9:30.
Of course, once we got there I found out there were other tests I had to do--namely, an ultrasound of the gland. So we trooped down to ultrasound (where the receptionist must be a ventriloquist in another life, because she hardly moved her lips), where I changed into a gown, got scanned, and then sent back to intervention.
Mom had gone to the bathroom and I was sitting there, watching another episode of Dora the Explorer (involving sticky tape that solves All Problems), when one of the nurses came out.
"Hey, did you stop in the lab and get a pregnancy test?"
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. No, I had not. "I just went to my OB/GYN," I said. "There's no chance I'm pregnant."
The nurse nodded. "I know. But we have to check all girls over 12." She slipped me a script for the test, and I went to the other side of the hospital to go pee in a cup. It took longer to get my name called in the lab than to actually do the test. So I did it, dropped it off, and headed back to intervention.
I dropped my purse and coat on the chair next to mom, who was back. "Where did you go?" She asked, after I told the receptionist that I was back (again).
"Pregnancy test."
"Oh, please."
So finally, I was called back to the prep room. My mom was hanging out in the lobby while the nurse took my history (including fun questions like "How much did I weigh when I was born?") , took my vitals, and assembled materials for port access.
As she was taking my blood pressure, I asked exactly what was going to happen.

Loreena McKennitt--"Dante's Prayer"

One of my favorite songs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tomorrow

Sorry I've been a bit AWOL, so here's your update:
my biopsy is tomorrow in Children's Interventional Radiology Department. According to Dr. A's office, I could get results as quickly as late Friday afternoon, or not until Monday or Tuesday. So I either know and am relaxed/ frantic all weekend, or I don't know and get to be....relaxed/frantic all weekend.
It helps that Swan Lake is on Friday night--an excellent distraction.
Anyway, the biopsy's at 9:30 tomorrow, I'm  NPO after midnight, and...that's about it, update wise.
I'll have a wrap-up tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook--October 12, 2009




Outside My Window ...

A bit overcast. The leaves, however, are looking wonderful--red, black, ochre, gold, yellow, a bit of green, some fantastic auburn. It's so beautiful!

***
I am listening to...
Loreena McKennit, "The Book of Secrets" (I'm ADDICTED, I tell you. Addicted.)

***
To Live the Liturgy...
Rosary, Magnificat, Bible reading, classes
***
To Fit and Happy...

Gym today. I swear it will be happening. I have the day off, there's no reason it cannot happen.
***
I am thankful for...
my faith sharing group
***

I am pondering ...
What I can get done today.
***
From the kitchen ...

Irish Soda Bread (recipe up later), pizza for dinner with peppers, onions, and garlic from the North Market
I am wearing ...
A pink camisole, Pitt sweatpants (yeah, I just got up)
***
I am creating ...
The memoir; music (voice lesson practicing)

***
On my iPod...
Voice lesson music


***

I am thinking...
that I am looking forward to today.
***

Around the House
I mopped yesterday! Go me! Vacuuming today.

.***

I am reading ...

How the Irish Saved Civilization
***
I am hoping and praying ...
that my biopsy goes well this week. 

***

On Keeping Home ...

these candles look awesome. (keeping this link because they are awesome)
I was re-organizing a few things yesterday, trying to make the place look a bit tidier. More to do today, but I've been enjoying it so far. 
***
One of my favorite things ...
baking


***
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Monday: OB/GYN appointment
W: Ballet
Thursday: Biopsy/voice
Friday: Swan Lake!

A picture thought I am sharing: 

The Jane shelf in my apartment--my scholarly books on Jane, and the Madame Alexander "Emma" doll. The novels are with the rest of my fiction. 
***
If you like reading my daybook, you can find many more over at Peggy's!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Culture Cat: Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Last night I attended the Columbus Symphony Orchestra's presentation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Choral). I love Beethoven, and even though I am (along with the rest of humanity) very familiar with the fourth and final movement, the "Choral" of the title, which contains the "Ode to Joy", I didn't know much--if anything--about the rest of the hour-long symphony. So I thought I'd go and hear the entire thing.

A little background: Beethoven's 9th is ground-breaking, for a couple reasons. First, the introduction of voices into the symphony. Before Beethoven's 9th, this had never been done. Sure, there were oratorios (ie, Handle's Messiah), but voices had not been incorporated into the symphony form, which was purely instrumental music. Beethoven's addition of chorus and four soloists--soprano, mezzo, tenor, bass--in the last movement was incredibly innovative. As a singer, I love anything with a chorus and soloists, so that was the particular attraction the 9th held for me (as well as Beethoven being my favorite instrumental composer. Vocal composers--different story).

The concert, held at the Ohio Theater, was preceded by a talk about the work by Christopher Purdy, a classical music specialist from the local NPR/public radio station. I am a sucker for pre-or-post work talks--Symphony, BalletMet, whatever. I love them. After the talk, the instrumentalists came on stage to begin the warm-up process. This is one of my favorite things about the symphony--how everyone (except the concertmaster) comes out at random and just starts playing. A marvelous cacophany is produced.

By the time the concert began, the hall seemed pretty full. I was in the first row (not the best for orchestral hearing, but I like to see the faces of the players, plus I wanted to study the vocalists' technique, who were seated up front), and behind me the floor seemed packed. THis is good. The CSO had some money problems of late (they finished last season in the black-yay!), so it's great to see the hall crowded. In my row there was also a family with two little girls, who behaved beautifully. The soprano singer, at the curtain call, even blew them kisses. They were adorable (and I think related to one of the violinists, but can't be sure.).

After the playing of the National Anthem (which was especially awesome, since the chorus was onstage singing too), the Ninth began. Since it runs about an hour, it was the only item on the program.

Describing instrumental music is harder for me then say, theater or dance. How I define a good performance is based on how it moves me. Of course I can hear/see any massive problems, but in a professional symphony any mistakes are usually far beyond my ability to identify them (when I go to a concert with Tiffany, who has her MA in Clarinet performance, this is much improved, because she can hear everything, including the tiniest mistakes.). But let me say that this was a glorious performance. Everyone seemed to be on top of the music, and the feeling from the players was evident. They really seemed to enjoy performing this piece.

The vocalists, who entered the stage prior to beginning the third movement, were also very good. I enjoyed watching the soprano the best--she had excellent stage presence and expression--and the tenor, who had a marvelous voice. The bass seemed a bit easily overtaken by the orchestra. The mezzo was technically excellent, but I felt her face was somewhat lacking. Not that she wasn't pretty, but she seemed too concentrated on the music to convey the expressions of joy that she was singing about to the audience. Since the text was in German, expression is important, because chances are the majority of the audience has no idea what you're saying. All the singers were technically excellent, but I would've liked a bit more emotion from the mezzo.

The chorus was, as usual, superb. They always do a good job. When they make their entrance in the main "Ode to Joy" theme, backed by the full orchestra playing all out, it was a glorious sound. Truly wonderful.

I can think of no better way to summarize the performance than this--the CSO, chorus, and soloists received the longest standing ovation I have ever seen. People leapt up as soon as the last note was sounded, and we kept clapping for at least four curtain calls. We just did not stop clapping. I wouldn't be surprised if the applause lasted for four or five minutes.

Sometimes when a piece ends, the audience is so lulled into it, or so intensely involved, that when it ends, there's a sort of disconnect. You're still thinking of the music, and the moment hangs in the air. But after this piece, the reaction was electric. People loved it, and not just because it's Beethoven's 9th. We had seen a truly remarkable performance.

The CSO is performing the 9th again today at 3:00. If you can, head on down to the Ohio Theater and hear it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Market, to Market

This week's marketing: 
--6 Buckeyes (because it's Fall in Ohio and that's what you eat)
--1 lb. apples
--Yellow (sweet) onions
--Red onions
--Honey
--Sun dried tomatoes
--candied rosemary walnuts
--orzo 
--fat-free milk black currants for an Irish Soda bread I want to make
--peppers--and I LOVE these, they're red, orange and green! I'm going to put them on a pizza tomorrow.
--Cherry tomatoes



New adventure

Sorry for the AWOL-ness this week--things have been...unsettled.
I missed my alarm TWICE this week, making me super-late for work. So on Thursday morning, when I actually got up at the appropriate time, I thought, today has to be better than the last two days. 
Eh...not so much.
If you've been reading this blog for the past month or so, you know my body's been doing it's "I hate you" dance, which drives me up a wall, especially when there seems to be no reason for this activity.
There might be a reason, after all. Found totally accidentially, during this ER run-in.
(read that, if you haven't, then come back, or the rest of this won't make sense. I'll wait.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Swan Lake is a-comin'!



Hey all Columbus folks--get yourself some tickets to Swan Lake, ASAP.
It promises to be an excellent show! So come on out! It's only here for ONE weekend, Oct. 16-18, and then it goes to Cincy.
You don't want to miss it. Really.

BalletMet dancer Carrie West (also in picture above)
Photo credits: BalletMet

Monday, October 05, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you like to support charities with your coffee, head to Caribou this month, and you can get a nifty tea cup, or pens, or coffee...whatever.
Also, Vera Bradley has the Hope Garden Line, where 10% of the net proceeds from these items are donated to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
(and Hope Garden is so, so pretty!)

The Simple Woman's Daybook--October 5, 2009




Outside My Window ...
Another lovely fall day in central Ohio--a bit of a breeze, sunny, mid 60s. Perfect. 

***
I am listening to...
Loreena McKennit, "The Book of Secrets"

***
To Live the Liturgy...
Rosary, Magnificat, Bible reading, classes
***
To Fit and Happy...
Gym and ballet class. I feel so much better than I did last week, the gym will be happening. 
***
I am thankful for...
A few days to recover and get back on track.
***
I am pondering ...
***
From the kitchen ...
I'm on the "milkshake, ice cream and pasta" diet until Friday, thanks to my oral surgery last week. Not that Imind, because I get to eat the yummy flavors I linked to above (besides the chocolate, I have root beer and Red Hot Apple Cider Sorbet! Don't those just sound delicious?)
I am wearing ...
my string of pearls, a white camisole with lace trim, a lavender cardigan from J.Crew, and a wool boucle skirt (in a purple-ish weave) from Talbots. And brown tights. 
***
I am creating ...
My memoir. I gave it to my brother to read yesterday and he really likes it so far, so I am pushing onward.

***
On my iPod...
Voice lesson music

***
I am thinking...
that fall is my favorite season
***
Around the House
Cleaning the floors, but that's about it...

.***
I am reading ...
Just finished the new Isabel Dalhousie novel. Tremendous! 
***
I am hoping and praying ...
For friends who are undergoing chemo this week; for my body to keep cooperating. 
***
On Keeping Home ...
these candles look awesome. (keeping this link because they are awesome)
***
One of my favorite things ...
See ice cream link, above. :)

***
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Monday: Parish Council
W: Ballet
Th: Voice
Sat: Homecoming at Capital--my five year class reunion. Yikes!

***
If you like reading my daybook, you can find many more over at Peggy's!


THE cutest thing EVER

Is this video.

For context, go here.
His voice is what makes it really cute. Especially when he gets to the "I'm sick and tired..."part.
Truly adorable. I love this kid!
(Oh, and he's four--he can't read. So those pages he's holding are just props, not cheat sheets.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Surgery update

So, two days later--
Not feeling too bad. Yesterday the vicodin and my system played "hey, we don't like each other!" and I vomited a few times, but I also slept a lot. Today I feel pretty good--eating more milkshakes (McFlurry for lunch, go me), and relatively awake, so that's good. I'm going to do some biblical studies reading and then watch hockey tapes with my dad. That's a good day.
Oh, and a plug--this is one of the best things I have ever bought.



It holds my laptop, books, insulin pens, med bottles, pens and pencils, journals, and everything else I could need to lug around. This may become my permanent work/travel carry-on bag. And I got it in the above pattern, which is Imperial Toile--a lot prettier in person.
(OK product plug done)
So I am feeling better, the Pens AND Jackets won, and the Steelers are on tonight. Go Steelers!

Another Gift of Life

On Tuesday, my friend Kelly received a double-lung transplant at Children's. Yay!
She'd been waiting for awhile, so this is excellent news.
She also has a little girl.
I know that most (all?) of you who read this blog are organ donors, but if you're not, sign up.
If you do, more people like Kelly can get that second chance of life.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XIV (medical exploits edition)



I.
So, let's talk about the insanity of my week, which kicked off with this.

II.
Medical insanity continued with oral surgery today, which basically consisted of taking tissue from my hard palette on the left side of my mouth and moving it to four teeth on my lower jaw. After all those aerosol treatments, my gums had receeded, and this needed to be done so I didn't, you know, lose teeth. Which is just not a good look for anyone. The upside of this is that my diet consists of milkshakes, soup and ice cream for the next week.

III.
I also get to emulate Dr. House, because I have vicodin for painkillers, which I seriously need. I didn't think this would hurt so much!

IV.
Book update: Re-reading my Isabel Dalhousie books, and am reading Traveling With Pomegranates, but Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann. It's a great read so far, and also has a lot of great tidbits about the writing of The Secret Lives of Bees, so if you're a fan of hers, or memoirs, or travel memoirs, go pick this up.

V.




Another big highlight of my week--The Wizard of Oz. I love, love, love this movie; it was the first movie my parents ever bought, way back in the 1980s when VHS tapes cost $80+. (Can you believe that?) I would watch it over and over, transfixed, and the only sound I would make would be at the end, where I would cry, thereby telling my mom to rewind the movie. "OVer the Rainbow" is one of my favorite songs,a nd at any family wedding my grandpa always asks the band to play it for me. (This was somewhat embarrassing in my teens but I like it now.)
So, naturally, I bought the super duper special set on Tuesday, and let me tell you--it is gorgeous. Those ruby slippers! The yellow brick road! It's amazing. Do yourself a favor and go pick it up. The set also includes a watch (!), a collector's book, original marketing materials, and, of course, the movie, in a four disk set crammed with extras. I can't wait to watch the movie with the Sing-a-long track.

VI.
In the world of voice--Robin is very pleased with my progress. She said my interpretation and expression are excellent, especially in "He Was Despised", so I was really happy. This is something I get complimented on a lot, but it's also something that I am always working on fine-tuning.
The other great thing about lessons with Robin is how much we talk about! We talk about different singers, who we like and who we don't. She gave me a great piece of advice--"find the best recording of a piece and listen to that." As in, listen to different interpretations, and then find the one you like the best. I've been doing this with "Storybook". I have three recordings of it: Linda Eder; Christine Andreas (in the original cast), and Rachel York (in the second Broadway cast). Ms. Andreas' recording is, in my opinion, the best, and it's her interpretation that I like to emulate when I sing it. We also talked about favorite singers--we both love Renee Fleming. :) Yay!

VII.
I'm at my parents' house this weekend, so it's sort of Mac heaven. I enjoy that.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!


Thursday, October 01, 2009

My patron saint

It's her feast day today. Read more about her here.

We're back!

Hockey season starts tonight.
Bring it on, Pens. :)
And, just to recap last season--the names on the cup. 
'Tis sweet.