Monthly Archives: June 2008

What I Read This June

Rosindust by Cornelia Watkins
Tigerheart by Peter David
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
Curly Girl by Deborah Chiel
The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron
Charlie Bone and the Blue Boa by Jenny Nimmo
Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning
You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem
A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron
Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo
The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton
Killashandra by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Larklight by Philip Reeve
Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance by Marthe Jocelyn

This may have been a record month. I’m too busy to check. Yet more props to my local library for supplying me with YA and middle-grade fiction. See me tear through the Charlie Bone series! See me go through the Lemony Snicket books too quickly and have to stop!

Quick notes:

Rosindust by Cornelia Watkins: One of the best books I’ve ever read about teaching. Coincidentally, it’s also one of the best books I’ve ever read about musicianship and musicality, and the making of music. (Note that they are not the same things.)

Larklight by Philip Reeve: Er, Victorian steampunk in space? Sort of? Quite fun.

The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser: Excellent. I must own this one.

Tigerheart by Peter David: I’ve tried to read Peter David books before and just couldn’t quite settle into them. This one, though, was very good. If you’re a Pan fan (the original book, thank you very much) you might want to look into this one. All I can say is that it was a neat re-examination of the Peter Pan story from a different angle, except it’s not about really Peter Pan. Very good indeed.

Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan: Brilliant Elizabethan/faerie parallel story with really sharp characters and a story that draws one in and really makes one care about the characters and events. Hurrah, a sequel of sorts is being written (or at least another story set in the same world).

Nightmares And New Days

The boy appeared in our bedroom doorway rather precipitously last night around ten past one, eyes somewhat wild in the dim light. I sat bolt upright in bed. It’s astonishing how awake one can suddenly be when progeny is involved. “What is it, lovey?” I said. “Did you have a bad dream?”

“Yes,” he said in a slightly desperate, slightly muffled voice. I held my arms out. He ran around the bed and flopped onto me.

“It’s okay now,” I said, hauling him up onto the bed and rolling over with him, snuggling him in between HRH and I. “Mama and Dada are here, and you’re safe. Nothing can happen to you.”

And we slept that way for the rest of the night. I say “slept” but it was mostly heavy drowsing on our part. We’re not used to sleeping with a restless three year old. This morning HRH got up with the boy around six-thirty (the boy himself woke up around six, went and got a colouring book, and coloured quietly at the end of our bed for about twenty minutes), and I got another hour and a half of sleep. When I got up the boy told me about his dream.

“There were cracks,” he said. “But there are no cracks any more.”


“In his room,” HRH said. “When we walked into his room this morning, he looked up and said, ‘Oh, there are no cracks any more. It was just a dream.’ He told me that he’d dreamed the walls were cracking and the house was falling apart.”

I know he’s had nightmares before, but this is the first time he’s been able to articulate what he dreamed and to understand that it was just a story his mind told him while he was sleeping. It’s also the first time he’s settled down and slept when he’s come to us in bed. Usually he tosses and turns and sits up and decides it’s playtime, but then again, we’ve tried to bring him into bed in a vague attempt to encourage him to snuggle and drowse for a while, because it’s usually around five-thirty when he wakes up too early in the morning.

He’s off with the caregiver today. HRH and I have tidied the entire house (again, argh — that makes the third time in five days!) including overhauling his room. We sorted through a lot of baby toys and packed them away, and designated certain containers for certain items. There’s a box of assorted trucks and vehicles in his closet (out of sight, out of mind) and the box of baby toys and another of stuffed toys have been taken downstairs. We also thinned out his cars and Thomas stuff, putting the extras away in a storage case that’s still in the living room if he decides he needs something in particular, but at least it isn’t all out on the train table or the bookcases. And in case we haven’t mentioned it to you in person, no more Cars toys or Thomas stuff! It was nice that he had two main things people knew he loved to play with, but we’ve reached our limit of associated items. (Our limit is much lower than many other people’s, we freely admit, but still, enough is enough.) If you want to treat him to something, art supplies are big right now and get used up, so frequently need to be replaced.

HRH and I are treating ourselves to a film this afternoon: WALL*E, of course! It’s nice to know that whenever a Pixar film comes out we know it will be good, so we don’t have to worry about spending time and money and walking out of a theatre wishing the past two hours could have been more worth it. We really, really don’t see a lot of films in the theatre. I think the last movie we saw in a theatre was The Golden Compass.

Tonight is our dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s concert. I’ll be bringing the 7/8 to see how it performs in a group environment. There’s no way I’ll use it tomorrow at the concert, however, even though the luthier crossed out the ‘no public performances with the instrument on trial’ clause on the contract, of his own accord.

And finally: the crazy lady downstairs is moving out. Most of her stuff went last Thursday. Tonight is her last night here, and good thing; without all her stuff to absorb noise her TV or radio or whatever it is that she listens to awfully loudly is positively intrusive. We could hear every word of it clearly in the kitchen last night. Heck, Scarlet and Blade upstairs could probably hear it too. You have no idea how much we’re looking forward to July. Not just because the four of us get to take over that one and a half as shared office space, or because we get to unplug her ancient appliances, multiple fans and dehumidifiers and garner a greatly reduced Hydro bill, but for sheer peace of mind. We don’t need to worry any more about her falling asleep while cooking something to a burnt and fire-alarm-tripping crisp, or her letting thieves into the building, or her claiming nothing is wrong when her washing machine is leaking and ruining our stuff in storage in the garage, or allowing her jammed dryer to run all night figuring it would eventually fix itself, or her ambushing and verbally abusing us, or taking paranoid complaints to our landlord because she is convinced we’re trying to kill her. Liam will actually be able to play in his room and we’ll be able to use the kitchen in the morning without her banging on her ceiling. I have no idea what kind of place she’s moving into, but I hope she is very happy there, and I hope that her lack of comprehension concerning what life in a shared dwelling is like doesn’t negatively impact her situation.

Right. Time to tie some things up before we finish the house and head off to see the film.

The State of Autumn

Pretty wiped, actually. Very languid. Not much energy at all. I think it’s partially due to the weather (How much more damp can it get? Can it just rain properly, already? It feels like we’re walking through mist all the time, the air is so wet.), partially due to the intense rehearsals and lack of sleep after them (I’m doing the skating through light sleep cycles thing and waking up a lot these days), and partially due to something I haven’t quite figured out yet. Plus there’s that kid who lives here who gets cranky in high heat or humidity, loses his appetite, and sleeps abysmally. He’s been getting up at five-thirty in the morning, and didn’t nap at all yesterday.

We had a pleasant day with my mother in law yesterday. She had a test scheduled at the local hospital and finished early, so she called us and we picked her up. She took us out for lunch (which the boy did not eat, despite ordering enthusiastically) and even bought us clothes. I took her home with us and plied her with a nice refreshing white wine on the back porch under the new awning. This would be the day the boy wouldn’t nap. He was all right until we went out to pick HRH up around four, and he drowsed in the car for about half an hour. He slept in till sevenish today, thank goodness, so hopefully we’re back on track.

We went out to the luthier this morning and I picked up the new 7/8 cello for a two week home trial. (I have to take it back on my birthday. How depressing is that?) I played it for half an hour straight after the boy went down for his nap, and, well, I don’t know. I liked the first one better; I think it sounded a bit more mellow. (Oh, how I wish I’d had the idea of recording them when I tried it back in May!) The colour on this one is more orangey-red, kind of a deeper version of the one I have now. I preferred the brown-amber of the first one. It has nice resonance, and is easy to play, and feels all right under my fingertips. I haven’t tried the bow yet; I used my own. I’m just not completely in love with it the way I was with the first one. I am, however, completely in love with the soft case it comes with (three handles, including a double handle on the side to carry it like a suitcase! Lots of pockets! Padded straps! So well padded overall that it almost stands up on its own! Extra padding around the bridge! And I got to see an Eastman hard case, the one with wheels, which was so light I thought I was dreaming. It too had multiple handles. I was having a geeky day, evidently, to be so impressed by multiple handles. I also got to see the finish in person, which was important, because all the photos I’ve seen of them made me very wary, as the finish is pebbled and looks almost iridescent. This one was blue, and while I’d prefer a deep green (but they don’t make a darker one) or an ivory or black, I could live with the blue if I had to. Mind you, if I’m going to drop $500 on a hard case, I’ll darn well get them to order the colour I want, thanks. (Oooh! The Z-tek Deluxe model is now available in dark emerald green! Hmm. Duly noted.)

It feels a tiny bit bigger than the last one, too. But then, I didn’t switch between the 7/8 and my full-sized cello when I played it, like I did the last time. I checked the windings: it’s strung with a Helicore C and G, and Larsen D and A strings. It has a really deeply arched back, too.

The A doesn’t blend as well as the last one did. But that’s something that can be adjusted by poking the soundpost. It’s certainly resonant. I’ll post more notes as I play with it over the next couple of weeks.

People requested pictures. Here’s a shot of the two cellos side by side, so you can see the difference in size and proportion.

4/4 and 7/8, June 28 20084/4 and 7/8, June 28 2008

In Which She Joyfully Shouts The Very Good News

I just got a phone call.


Why yes, I *am* shouting. Also dancing, and doing lots of jumping up and down. Yes, I want to go right over, and no, I can’t, because the boy is home with me, and once he wakes up from his nap we have to pick HRH up. Friday’s out, because we have a lunch date, although maybe Friday afternoon? No, I won’t be able to handle the boy alone if I’m trying a cello. Maybe Saturday morning. Probably Saturday morning, actually, because no one will be able to live with me beyond that point.

7/8! 7/8!! 7/8!!!

In Which She Celebrates An Awesome Rehearsal

Hello, we are the LCO, and we are about to kick some serious musical behind this coming July 1 at the Canada Day concert.

We played through the entire program at last night’s rehearsal, and it sounded full and cohesive and just about ready. We had multiple horns last week, and this time we had a trumpet too. Now all we’re missing is the trombone. (The conductor has been singing the trombone part so far. It has been very amusing for those of us sitting right next to him who can hear it.)

Best of all? Brad’s our trumpet player! Once again I had no idea he was there until the conductor directed a question at him, and I perked up when I heard his name. How many Brads can there be on the West Island who play trumpet, after all? When the night was over I tidied up and headed over to say hi and reconnect with him. He was just as surprised to see me. It’s a small musical world around here, really. And it’s good, because it means I get to run into people like Brad every four or six years, sometimes more often if I’m lucky.

In Which She Remembers That She’s A Writer

Or, Hey, I Remember This!

Total word count, YA music novel: 1,204
(That would also be total new words today.)

I set my freelance profile to ‘vacation’ after uploading my latest MS evaluation, because I needed some brain space and some time to work on my own material. When I only have two or three days a week to work and at least two end up being devoted to freelance for someone else, my own stuff keeps getting pushed aside and I’ve been getting somewhat resentful. So today, after dealing with the printer and doing some final research and character name assignment this morning, I just finally made myself sit down and start writing.

Do you know long it’s been since I wrote? And I don’t mean editing my stuff or handling rewrites or whatever. I mean the creating kind of writing. And it’s been even longer since I did it with fiction.

I felt a bit awkward going in. The opening scene probably won’t make the cut in the end. But I learned a couple of new things about my protagonist, and some more background leading up to the current state of affairs. (I had no idea she’d recently won a concerto competition, for example, or carried a photo of her cat in her viola case. But apparently she has and does.)

I’m going to need an icon for posts related to this book.