Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Education

So on Saturday, it was a really pretty day. I was driving around, doing errands, and singing along to my voice lesson tape.
Now, when I'm driving through a residential or slow-speed area, and I want to sing, I put the windows up. I like my voice, but the rest of the world might not. And while I think Broadway cast recordings of GOOD shows should be required listening, I realize (alas) that everyone does not feel that way.
So, I was driving home from getting groceries. I turned onto my street and put up my windows so I could sing a bit of French aria. I really like this piece, was greatly enjoying singing it in the sunshine.
A few neighbors were out, including a guy who has a woodworking shop in one of the garages.
I pulled into a parking spot--and realized my sunroof had been open.
The neighborhood had indeed been treated to some French aria.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook--March 29, 2010

Outside my window:
Wee bit cloudy. The daffodils are up in their glory and the tulips are appearing!

I am wearing: 
gray pants, Talbots' top

I am thankful for:
my siblings

I am reading: 

From the kitchen:
Pasta from Jamie's Food Revolution tonight. The stew last night was great!!!

I am thinking:
That I hope my mom is doing OK. (see the prayers section...)

I am creating:
I'm moving ahead well on the novel.

On my iPod:
"Woman" and other voice stuff

Toward rhythm and beauty: 
Since it's Holy Week, that equals--big cleaning.

To Live the Liturgy: 
Daily Mass, hopefully some Holy Week adoration and Vespers. Then Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday 7 last words and MOPS (Mass of the Pre-Sanctified--I LOVE that phrase), and then.....Easter!

I am hoping and praying:
for my grandfather. He's being moved into hospice today/tomorrow, and my mom is up in Pittsburgh with her siblings and her mom making this stuff happen. Dad and I are down here trying to get the troops ready for any sort of funeral things we have to do. 
My grandfather is a truly wonderful person. He has lived a wonderful, rich life. He has eight children, 25 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren! He has perfect pitch, does crossword puzzles and sudoku and used to carry tic tacs in his pocket. He hates dogs. He sings in the church choir and has his own music company! He is a great and holy man.

Around the House:
The vaccuming, dishes, dusting. Stuff like that.

One of my favorite things:
Spring; Holy Week

A few plans for the week:
T: Mass, Vespers
W: Voice
Th: Thyroid ultrasound and blood work; Holy Thursday Mass
Friday: Good Friday

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Got confession?

Tips and hints over at CPG. 
As far as things to read, Lord Have Mercy is the best book I have ever read on Confession. It also includes a great examination of conscience in the back.


From today's Dispatch--an article about ASL classes. 
I took ASL in high school--as well as French--and let me tell you, it was one of the best things I ever did. When I began to lose my hearing, I used ASL to communicate in some situations, and my little sister took ASL in high school, too, so she can 'translate' for me, if the need arises.
It's a fun, rewarding language--and the way everyone's blaring iPods and yapping on cellphones, we might all need it, sooner or later!
(Even with the CI--there are times I can't use it, like when I go to the beach. So it's nice to have the ASL option.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XX

It snowed this morning. Snowed! And there was ice! Fortunately now it's about 50 degrees so both problems are taken care of. But I was not happy. 

Things that make me happy--St. Pat's fish fry! Tonight I'm going with one of my old college buddies. He has a hankering for fish fry, but he's not Catholic, so I am provided the Catholic creds. :) I, too, love a good fish fry, so I'm excited.

And continuing in the theme of food--I am excited to watch this tonight. I have Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals, and I'll write up my first experience with it later. It involved whisky and avocado. Good stories.

Sorry it's been such a slow blogging week. I think I might have finally caught up with the DST clock. I promise more posting in the future.

How's your bracket? Mine is OK. Half of my final four still in, so I'll take it. 

Books: The Law of Similars , The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo (this is such a good novel. If you've never read it, you should.) 

Had a fantastic voice lesson on Wednesday. I was happy, Robin was happy, the music was happy. Gotta love days like that. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Well, thanks

So we have "health care."
I've written a lot about it on this blog. I'll try to go through the archives and pull the most relevant stuff over the next day or so. But if you're a long-time reader, you know this isn't good for kids with CF, or really any chronic disease. I am NOT happy with this decision on multiple levels,  but mostly because this will negatively impact the CF population.
We don't live that long to begin with. We don't need Congress making our lives even shorter.

we can start here, with CF in Ireland.
And in Australia.

Weekend reading

All of these are fantastic, by the way. Second Glance is a totally different Jodi Picoult book--a ghost story and mystery; The Breakdown Lane is just great, and The Blood of the Lamb is funny, but the ending is so sad.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XIX

(we'll see how long I can keep up those roman numerals...)

The Madness has begun! Do you have a bracket? At this moment, the Panthers (my favorite college team) are playing Oakland in Milwaukee, and winning right before the half. Let's hope this remains true. They were scaring me a bit in the beginning. 

Spring, spring, spring! Are you happy? I am!

Things that make me not happy--this health care debate. I've got a post on it over at CPG.
Nothing this big has ever been passed in single-party fashion. Nothing. That makes me very, very nervous. 

Voice yesterday was great; Robin was very pleased. And when the teacher is pleased, I am pleased. I'm working on "Woman" from The Pirate Queen, "Live Out Loud" from A Little Princess, "Where Is Love?" from Oliver! and an Italian arietta. All of them are fantastic pieces. 

What I'm reading: FinishedThe Scarlet and the Black: The True Story of Monsignor Hugh O Flaherty, Hero of the Vatican Undergroundand Song for Nagasaki. Both very good, S&B better than SFN. Also both WWII books. So I guess I'm on a kick there. Especially since I read Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife earlier this week. Definite trend. The Anne Frank book was good, but really only if you're familiar with the diary editions, the plays, and the movies. Otherwise it can be too nit-picky and specialized. 

St. Patrick's Day at St. Pat's was awesome! Read about it here.

Don't have a seven. So it's a six. :) Enjoy the weekend!

Head over to Jen's for more quick takes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Catholics and Health Care

I give you a quick roundup over at CPG.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just for the record...

I don't control which ads come up, but know that if it's Michael Moore, I am NOT supporting you buying that )(&%#)_&@#%*. (your choice of word)
Just a note. In case you were curious about where I stood on that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Get Moooving March--week 2

So, last week....

I worked out twice--once my outdoor walk, and then a weights session. (WOW, hard!) Both were harder than I thought. Which is good because...I lost two pounds! Woooo!
That made me really excited. Today I've got Housecleaning on the Agenda (which counts as "workout" in my Self Challenge, heck yes.) With no session this week, I can go to the gym for sure on Wednesday. And there's dancing tomorrow at the Irish Tea Party, so I'm hoping someone in particular will ask me to dance. :)

The Simple Woman's Daybook--March 15, 2010

Outside my window:
Snow is essentially GONE. YAY! A little rain, a little gray, but that's spring in Ohio. I'm seeing little flowers pop up their stems!

I am wearing: 
jeans, socks, an ocean blue top

I am thankful for:
My Lay Dominican chapter

I am reading: 
Master and Margarita (hope to finish this week)

From the kitchen:
Pasta tonight. Not sure what kind. 
The Guinness Cake is sitting on my counter, waiting to be devoured.

I am thinking:
That it was a good weekend and promises to be a good week!

I am creating:
Learning the music from Love Never Dies. Because I am a nerd like that. And working on voice lessons stuff. 

On my iPod:
Love Never Dies (I'm OBSESSED, I tell you!)

Toward rhythm and beauty: 
A menu, regular prayer times--like Fr. Blau told us yesterday, "we just have to be faithful. It doesn't have to be beautiful every time." 

To Live the Liturgy: 
Daily Mass (as often as possible), Magnificat, my Lent books. 

I am hoping and praying:
for my grandfather; for Meg; for Liz's mom. 

Around the House:
The vaccuming, the dishes. That's about it. 

One of my favorite things:

A few plans for the week:
T: St. Patrick's Day Mass (at St. Pat's, appropriately!), and tea and food afterwards.
Th: Voice
A picture thought I am sharing: 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Food: Chocolate Guinness Cake

OK, I am pretty sure that St. Patrick didn't eat this cake. But I'm also sure he'd approve.
It is, bar none, my favorite cake to make. It's easy (one pot!), and the icing is good, easy, and OPTIONAL.
(This is from Nigella Lawson's Feast: Food to Celebrate Life)

1 c. Guinness (I use extra stout, but you can use whatever kind you want)
1 stick plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. sour cream (I use light, and the cake works fine)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the topping (optional): 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese; 1 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar; 1/2 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter and line a 9" springform pan with parchment paper (the bottom only).

Pour the Guineess into a large wide saucepan or pot, and add the butter in slices. Heat until the butter's melted (about medium heat). Then whisk in cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and then pour into the pan. Finally, whisk in flour and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in pan on cooling rack, as it is a quite a damp cake. (REALLY damp!)

When's the cake's cold, sit on a flat platter or cake stand and frost.

Frosting/Topping: Whip the cream cheese lightly until smooth. Sift over the confectioners' sugar and then beat them both together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Living at the Hospital

A touching story from today's Cincy Enquirer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New blog stuff

OK, so, I guess I've sold out--I've added AdSense to the blog, so there are ads now.
(This blog post brought to you by...)
So far, they are small and mostly inconspicuous. But if you feel the urge to click, go right ahead.
The Amazon stuff (see post below) is more obvious. Yeah, OK, it's part of an ad program, but I talk so much about books/movies/CDs, and link so often to Amazon, that I might as well have the cool Amazon things here. And if you use the Amazon search box, I get money. :) (And no, it's not like a Google search, it's like if you're looking for something on Amazon.)
A little pocket money never hurt anyone, so I might as well...
Thus ends the commercial. :)

This is gonna make my Friday

What can be better than Phantom?
MORE Phantom. (And yeah, the lineup is funny, I'm just now experimenting with these Amazon buttons.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Popcorn: Theory: Jason Retiman's films

I've seen all of Jason Reitman's major films, two of them Oscar nominees for Best Picture: 
  • Thank You for Smoking 
  • Juno 
  • Up in the Air

And I have to say, he's got the makings of a Hollywood Conservative.
Think about it. First, Thank You is based on humorist Christopher Buckley's (son of William F. Buckley) novel, and is about good parenting and being honest (well, as honest as a lobbyist can be...). Juno is about a pregnant teen who was going to abort her baby, but decides to give it up for adoption. Up in the Air's Natalie wants to be driving a Grand Cherokee full of kids, and scolds Ryan for his lack of personal connections.

Really, what these characters are first considering aren't bad. The lobbyist is just doing his job, and he's good at it. Doesn't matter if lying is involved, or that he never sees his son, or that he sleeps around.
Juno is a teenager. She could abort her baby. Lots of girls do. She doesn't need to be pregnant. (OK, yes, what she's considering is bad. Very bad. But not in some parts of society.)
Ryan has a good life. Doesn't matter that he doesn't have a real home, or a close family, or someone with which to share his life, or any real friends. He thinks he doesn't need those things.

But then..these characters change. They realize what they were missing, or what they would be missing if they'd continued doing what they were doing.

  • The lobbyist gets a better relationship with his son.
  • Juno has a relationship with the baby's adoptive mother, and she realizes how much she really loves Paulie. 
  • Ryan becomes less self-centered. He realizes that he wants to be closer to his family (he transfers a  million miles to his sister and her husband so they can have a honeymoon). Natalie had an impact on him. 
(Sorry, haven't seen Thank You for awhile, so I'm missing names.)

These are normal people. Juno's life is a lot like any high-schoolers. Ryan could be the corporate everyman, living for the job. 

In all of Reitman's movies, there's redemption of a sort. And it's usually a swing back to something more traditional that other people around the character have rejected (the other lobbyists, some of Juno's peers, Alex--even with her husband and family, she still wants "the escape."). 

The changes all the characters make are appalling to the others--at first. But then we see the reconciliation and acceptance. Juno's father and stepmother help her with the baby, and she falls in love with Paulie. The lobbyist is an outcast, but then is invited back. Ryan is heartbroken, but emerges with a new appreciation for Natalie and his "goofy" family. 

I don't know if that's compelling evidence that Reitman is a Hollywood Conservative. But I think there's a definite theme in his works, and it's one I like. 

Writing a blog entry every day for a month

It’s easier said than done…I had to search a bit for topics, and sometimes all I ‘wrote’ were links with a few comments. But all I wanted to do was have a blog entry. I didn’t have a word limit, so as long as something was written (other than the text for the link), it counted.

Popcorn: Oscar Nominee--Up in the Air

Yes, I know the Oscars have been awarded. Yes, I know my prognostication was right. But I'm still watching the nominated movies as they come out on DVD, and posting what I thought.)

The Best Picture Nominees for 2009 were: Up, Up in the Air, Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglorious Basterds, District 9, A Serious Man, An Education and The Blind Side. This is the third in a series of 2009 Oscar reviews. 

Up in the Air is the fourth of the 10 nominees for Best Picture that I've seen. I had previously thought that this would the film that beat out Avatar for best picture, but after watching it, and The Hurt Locker, I would place it third in my list of four movies (after Precious, but before Up). 
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney, in another Oscar nominated role) is, for lack of a better term, a corporate firer. He goes and fires people when the bosses are too chicken to do it themselves. He's good at what he does, and he enjoys the constant travel that is part of his job. It's his secret goal to be the seventh person ever to hit 10 million frequent flier miles--"more people have walked on the moon," he tells his young colleague Natalie (a great Anna Kendrick), than flown 10 million miles. 
But Natalie's got a new plan--a computer interface that would allow Ryan and his compatriots to fire people via webcam. A new Cornell graduate, Natalie's plan wins over the boss. Ryan asks if he can continue his vagabond life and show Natalie why firing people in person is a much better process than her soulless internet proposal. 
Natalie travels around the country with him, eventually firing people herself. She obviously doesn't have his panache, but, with her new program, that will be irrelevant. Everything will be very clinical. 
Natalie, however, is human, compared to Ryan's "no commitment" philosophy (the backpack philosophy--take as little as possible--is his topic at business seminars.). She's moved to Omaha to follow her boyfriend, who took a job with ConAgra. She's in love with him. Ryan has an attractive neighbor in his apartment building, but, since he's almost never home, she's started dating someone else. And a one-night stand in a hotel with Alex (the radiant Vera Farmiga) seems to prove that he doesn't need commitment in his life--he can get everything he needs without the messy entanglements. 
Alex travels just as much as Ryan, and they share a passion for it. But when they meet in Miami (with Natalie tagging along), Ryan begins to realize that's he's falling for Alex. Although he vehemently denies it to an incredulous Natalie  ("you're a twelve-year old!" she screams at him), he's lying to himself. He invites her to his younger sister's wedding as his guest. In the middle of the 'backpack speech' at a big Las Vegas convention, he stops his speech, and goes to see Alex at her home in Chicago--where he discovers that Alex is married, and has two kids. Ryan, to her, is the "escape". Ryan wanted her in his "real life." He goes back to Omaha without Alex, and without (he thinks) the traveling he loves; Natalie's program has been implemented by the company. 
On the flight back to Omaha, Ryan reaches the mythical 10 million mile mark. There is champagne and the presentation of the graphite card with his name on it. While Ryan talks to the pilot, he says he's rehearsed this moment over and over, and now doesn't know what to say. 
Upon his return, with his only life goal fulfilled, he finds that Natalie's program has been abandoned, and that Natalie has quit her job. One of the women she fired in St. Louis killed herself, after threatening to that day in the office. Ryan has dismissed Natalie's concerns about the woman. 
His boss sends him out again--"wherever the wind takes you, send us a postcard when you get there"--and the movie ends with Ryan staring at the departure and arrivals board. 
George Clooney does a great job (as always), and carries the movie beautifully. He's surrounded by the massively talented Kendrick and Farmiga, who are equal to the verbal sparring the script gives them (Kendrick, especially is great at this). They are more than equals to Clooney. The supporting cast is also excellent, especially J.K Simmons as one of the fired workers that Ryan and Natalie fire in tandem. (I think J.K. Simmons must be a feature in all of Retiman's films, like Hector Elizando is in Gary Marshall's films)
The thing I found really interesting about the movie is how conservative Natalie is. She's a go-getter, she graduated from Cornell near the top of her class, but what she wants is a husband and kids. "I should be driving a Grand Cherokee by now," she says. When she pictures twenty-three, she pictured a husband and a family. She says to Ryan and Alex, "I appreciate all your generation did for me," ("No problem", they reply), but what she wants is closer to what her grandmother had than the life Alex is leading. When she leaves Omaha, it's for a much better job in San Francisco--the job she was originally offered, and almost took, before following her boyfriend. She's learned to be more independent (not following your boyfriend is usually a good idea), but she taught Ryan something important: that the best moments in life are ones you spend with other people. Ryan's spent his entire life away from his family ("we never see you", one sister says), but when he takes Alex back to his hometown in Wisconsin, he is excited to show her his old high school, his trophies, and his pictures in the school hallways. He's proud of these connections. 
Retiman does a great job with this incredible cast, and they tell a universal story--that you cannot opt-out of interaction with life. Because then you're opting out of life itself. 

Popcorn: Oscar Nominee--Precious

(Yes, I know the Oscars have been awarded. Yes, I know my prognostication was right. But I'm still watching the nominated movies as they come out on DVD, and posting what I thought.)

The Best Picture Nominees for 2009 were: Up, Up in the Air, Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglorious Basterds, District 9, A Serious Man, An Education and The Blind Side. This is second in a series of 2009 Oscar reviews. To see my review of The Hurt Locker, go here

I really wanted to see this movie, and I have no idea why. I'd read the reviews, knew what it was about, and, to a lot of people, it probably sounded appalling. Why would anyone want to see a movie about an obese, illiterate, sexually, physically and verbally abused teen living in 1987 Harlem? 
I did. (yeah, I'm weird.) But keep in mind--The Hours, which opens with a suicide, is my favorite movie. 
I purchased the DVD yesterday and, as part of my quest to see all the Best Picture nominees for 2009, sat down to watch and review. 
The basic plot is well-known: Precious is sexually abused by her father, has one baby by him (who is raised by her maternal grandmother), and is pregnant with a second. Her mother hates her for 'stealing her man', and verbally, physically and sexually (although we don't see that) abuses her 16 year old daughter.
Precious is still in junior high, although she's 16. Her school principal suspends her for being pregnant (Precious won't tell her how she got pregnant) and suggests she enroll at Each One Teach One, a nearby alternative school, where she can prepare to take her GED. At the school, a tough but kind teacher, Miss Rain, leads Precious and her classmates into academics. 
There are a lot of hard scenes in this movie. There's horrific abuse, awful language, and frequent despair. But the toughest scene for me was watching Precious be unable to read the title of a children's book-- A Day at the Shore. She couldn't read any of it. And she was 16. I can't imagine living in a place where basic things like reading are seen as useless (her mother, Mary, sees school as a waste of time). It's heartbreaking to see her struggle so hard. 
But she does learn to read. Ms. Rain has each student keep a journal, which is turned in daily for the teacher's comments and feedback. Slowly, Precious decides she will make a better life for herself. 
After the birth of her second child, she reluctantly returns to her mother's apartment. But when Mary purposefully drops the baby and begins to abuse her daughter, Precious has had enough. She grabs the baby and escapes the apartment, eventually ending up in a half-way house, where baby Abdul is looked after while she continues her studies. 
Her mother finds her and tells her that her father is dead, and that he was HIV positive. Abdul is fine, but Precious is not. She has the virus. In the 1980s, this was a death sentence. But the movie doesn't end in despair; it ends in hope, with Precious and her two children heading to a better life. 
The cast is roundly excellent. Mo'Nique is hideously vile as Mary, and her Oscar was extremely well-deserved. Mariah Carey does a nice job in her role as a seen-it-all social worker, with the best acting coming in the denoument between Carey, Mo'Nique and Gabourney Sibidie (Precious) in the social worker's office. For the first time, we hear Mary talk about Precious' child hood and Mary's hatred of her daughter. It's chilling and terrifying. 
It is a hard movie to watch, although I didn't think it was unbearable. It is hard to believe that there are actually people like this, that are truly that vile. But there are. It's supposed to be hard to watch. 
If you have small children in your house, or even young teens, I wouldn't recommend them watching it. It is definitely a 'R' rated film, and the language, violence and overall tone are definitely not appropriate for kids or even teens. Even very sensitive adults will probably not be able to stomach the movie. But for those who can, it's a revelation of personal triumph in the midst of unimaginable circumstances. 
It wasn't as good as The Hurt Locker, in my opinion, but better than Up. Not that Up was bad, but Up was nice. That's all. It was a nice film. It was a gorgeous film. Heck, it was a Pixar film, which is almost shorthand for quality filmmaking. But it wasn't Best Picture material. Precious is. 

Monday, March 08, 2010


It's Monday, soo...
Last week's progress:

Great day at the gym on Tuesday--a new level on the hill program, 35 minute workout, fastest I've ever gone..I was happy.
Sick Th-Friday so no workout.
Sat. morning, went to gym, did 30 minutes of level 3 on the hill program. Not as intense as Monday, but not bad, either. Then I went home and cleaned for 90 minutes--HARD cleaning. So lots of working out that day. 
Also did some strength training and seated yoga poses. 
No fast food! Lots of cooking! 
So not a bad week, over all.

The Simple Woman's Daybook--March 8, 2010

Outside my window:
It is 55! Snow is melting! The windows are open! Spring is here!!!! (Yes, I am really excited)

I am wearing: 
a yellow 3/4 length sleeve spring sweater, jeans, gray socks

I am thankful for:
My New Book

I am reading: 
Midwives, Master and Margarita

From the kitchen:
Last night: sloppy joes (really good!)
Tonight: I think Margherita Pizza, or pasta in general. 
I've got Alaska burgers and carbonara on the menu this week as well. 

I am thinking:
How happy I am to see my friend, Spring.

I am creating:
Editing the short story. 

On my iPod:
Sarah McLachlin, Mirrorball

Toward rhythm and beauty: 
A menu, regular prayer times

To Live the Liturgy: 
Daily Mass (as often as possible), Magnificat, my Lent books. 

I am hoping and praying:
for a good week; for my grandfather

Around the House:
Did massive cleaning on Saturday--really vacuumed, mopped, etc. Now it's the little things--cleaning the bookshelves, dusting off the top of my dresser (which gets dirty in record time, thanks make-up)

One of my favorite things:

A few plans for the week:
T: Senate Session
Th: Voice
F: Dinner and movie w/ my brother
Sat.: Hair cut

A picture thought I am sharing: 

pretty spring flowers!!!

The gift

of a new book (halfway through Lent). Read about it here.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Saturday Evening Blog Post--February Edition


It's that time again! The lovely Elizabeth is hosting the Saturday Evening Blog Post, where you post your favorite blog entry of the past month. Here's mine
To read more, head over to Elizabeth's!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Culture Cat: Carmina Burana

If I said to you, "Hey, let's go spend our Friday night watching a ballet based on the poetry of monks!" You'd probably look at me like I was crazy.
Too bad. You would've missed a great show.
BalletMet's penultimate performance of the 2009-2010 season, Carmina Burana is, indeed, a ballet based on the poetry of monks, set to the music of Carl Orff. But these aren't your typical monks; these guys wrote about love, passion, drunkeness, and all that other stuff monks aren't supposed to know anything about it. BalletMet's stupendous company exuded eroticism and passion as they performed the bravura, almost hour long work.
BalletMet hasn't performed Dwight Rhoden's intense, epic piece in six years, and it's easy to see why. The company is onstage practically every moment, and not in the neat postures of classical ballet's corps. These dancers jumped, spun, leaped, and climbed on and over the set, the stage, and prop benches (sometimes even doing pirouettes on the benches.). Lead by the duo of Olivia Clark and Jimmy Orrante (whose pas de deux to In truitina--in the balance-- was magnificient), the featured pairs and a corps of women lead the audience on a never-to-be-forgotten romp through love, passion, debauchery, death, gluttony and excess--in short, the gallery of life.
All of the dancers did superb work, but meriting special mention are Emily Gotschall, Adrienne Benz, Jackson Sarver, Andres Estevez, Bethany Lee, Austin Finley, Andrew Notarile and Annie Mallonnee. Gotschall, Benz, Sarver, and Estevez seem to have instant spotlights on them whenever they are onstage, and they delivered fantastic performances tonight.  And Clarke and Orrante were pitch perfect as the leaders of this romp, with Clark being especially seductive and entrancing. 

Carmina, however, was the second great piece of the evening. The night opened with a world premier by company dancer Jimmy Orrante (The Great Gatsby), entitled "Coming Into View". Eight dancers--Olivia Clark, Emily Gotschall, Annie Mallonee, Christine Mangia, Kerri Riccardi, Jon Drake, Andres Estevez and Gabriel Smith--performed this contemporary work about relationships, interconnectedness and individuality, set to the music of Rene Aubry and Gabriel Smith (yes, he also performed in this work. Multi-talented, for sure.). The contemporary costumes--khakis and polos for the men, and flowing dance dresses for the women (who also wore flat technique shoes) perfectly matched the tone of the piece. The section for all women, and the lovely pas  and male solo, are worth special mention.

This night of passion, athleticism and artistry is a perfect bill. Don't miss it.
Carmina Burana, with "Coming Into View", will be performed through March 13 at the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. Tickets can be purchased at www.balletmet.org

Second Friday of Lent

thoughts up at CPG.

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. XVIII


I . 
It's March, and the snow is melting! It's supposed to be almost 50 this weekend. I am very excited about that. 

Today is my best friend Branden's birthday. We've known each other since we were in pre-school! Happy birthday, Sir!

Christmas 2009--I'm next to Branden. 
OK, yes I have a lot of best friends. But Branden is my best male friend. And Andrea's birthday is tomorrow (she's in the gray and white sweater in the pic above). So two birthdays back to back. Then Tiff's fiance's birthday later this month, and then mine.

A thing with me is love of birthdays. I love them, everything about them--the cards, the cake, the presents. Birthdays rock my world. 

What does not rock my world? My third cold this winter (and I've gotten every one from the same person, who shall remain nameless.). I might have nipped this one in the bud, since I don't feel too horrible today, just sleepy. But with immuno-compromised me, colds (anything, almost) should be Handled With Care.

I want to feel better by tonight, since tonight is opening night of BalletMet's Carmina Burana! I am really looking forward to this show. Tickets are still avaiable  at the Riffe Center box office prior to the show, or I bet you could get them for later in the run from the online box office (link above). This should be a great performance. 

And we'll wrap with some books of 2010: The Covenant, The Betrayal, The Sacrifice, The Prodigal, The Revelation, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I want to finish Master and Margarita today, too. 
Oh, and did you hear? I finished a story! A real story, with a beginning, middle, and end! I think I might revise it a bit today too. Once I've got it (pretty much) to my satisfaction, I'll post some. Maybe.;-) 
For more quick takes, go to Jen's!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Into the Ether

It is a strange thing to know people read your blog.
You hope people do. I hate to think of my words just flying off into the ether, never to be read by a single soul but me. Usually, if you're writing a blog, it's because you have a desire to share something (hopefully brilliant/insightful/at the very least funny) with mankind. Or your kind relatives and friends that humor you and bump up your stats counter.
So it's very strange to see people (strangers!) not just reading, but linking to your blog.
(How did I get here? I'll tell you...)
I was playing one of my favorite time-wasting games, "Six degrees of me", on Facebook. What I do is click on a friend, then click on one of their friends, and so on, just to see if anyone knows anyone super cool (like Christian Bale, or whatever) personally. (Or as "personally" as one can on facebook.)
While doing this, I noticed that one BalletMet dancer had posted a link to my entry on A Midsummer Night's Dream on another dancer's page.
Seeing this made me promptly scurry back and read the review, and then sigh when I realized that I had said nice (in one case, rather adoring) things about the dancers.
I know that people read this blog. I don't have thousands of family and friends. And I definitely don't have any that live anywhere near Tibet.
But it's still weird to see your post posted on someone else's wall, by someone you don't know.
And in a way....strangely gratifying.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



My first "Real" day of this:
**35 minutes on the treadmill. Hill program level 4 (highest yet). Really felt good to do a proper workout, instead of the short ones I've been doing because people were waiting for machines. 
**Seated yoga poses (because, according to one of my PTs, I have the 'tightest hamstrings in the world.' since then, I've stretched them a LOT and have gained much flexibility. But they still get uber cranky when not given sufficient attention.)

And, I use the following tools: An Ultimate Workout Log, and the Self Challenge (link for the Challenge on the page). I've done parts of the Challenge before (usually the strength training stuff) and this year's looks pretty sweet. Plus you win cool prizes just by logging workouts and meals! That's some motivation.

"Big News!"

Another week goes by...in Atlanta.... (sorry, couldn't help it!)

I have finally, at last, and for the first time (excepting my creative writing class where it was for a grade) finished a piece of fiction.
It is done. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I want to edit it now, go over it for dialogue and details and minor revisions. So I won't post anything (not even a teaser) until that's done.
It is 17 pages long.
I am pretty proud of it.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Books of 2010: March 1st edition

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • Fallen Angels
  • The Sweet Far Thing
  • The Mozart Season
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
(yeah, this is the YA edition.)