Daily Archives: November 24, 2008


According to the professor I delivered a kick-ass guest lecture on Neopaganism this morning (not her exact words, but my interpretation of them). As usual I completely misjudged the time. Out of the fifteen pages I got through ten in my allotted hour, and fielded some excellent questions from the students. (Good grief, there were something like seventy there. I am used to between seven and twelve.) And then a great brief discussion with some of them afterwards in the hall, and then a two-hour long talk with the professor over tea. A fabulous morning! And not only did she give me the usual university honorarium fee for speaking, she bought me — are you ready for this? — sea-salt caramels as a personal thanks. I kid you not. She’s a saint. I love her.

It felt really good to sit and talk with someone who is an academic and who comes at the whole spirituality/mysticism thing from a similar angle. It helps that she’s a recent mom and married to someone active in comics/SF fandom, too, I think. Similarities facilitate grokking (for the lack of a better term). I’m so glad we’ve finally met in real life instead of being online friends only.

I’ve just handed in my edits of the hearthcraft book. Let’s see if I can do a brief recap of the weekend before I have to throw myself into work again.

Friday: HRH takes a half-day off work to get the winter tires put on the car. He takes me out to lunch and we sit and converse like actual grownups. We both get haircuts. I take my latest US freelance cheque to the bank and make fifty dollars on it. That’s the kind of exchange rate I like! After the now traditional weekly homemade pizza for dinner I head out for the dress rehearsal for the concert. Sat on awful stacking chairs with metal frames and bent wooden seats. We do not sound awful. Pretty encouraging, actually. There is a double bassist! ( “He lives in Kirkland,” says our guest conductor. “Imagine!”)

Saturday: HRH puts the lights and garland up along the front balcony. We head out to Canadian Tire for a new scraper/brush (we break one every single year), replacement bulbs for the strings of lights, seat covers for the car, and a string of lights for the boy’s bunk bed. We have lunch out at the hot dog place. Everyone in the store and restaurant is curiously laid back, which makes HRH and I suspicious. The boy naps, and HRH heads out to Mousme‘s place to talk about painting it. I do work on the lecture notes. It feels like I spend most of my afternoon just kind of waiting for the concert; I hate that. We change and head out. The boy is very excited about going to the concert like a grown-up person. He and HRH drop me off for warm-up and head over to Tim Horton’s for a little snack. The concert goes brilliantly. The boy claps loudly and yells, “YAY!” after big exciting finishes. A little squirmy, a little out of it during the first part of the second half (translation: flopped over Dada’s shoulder and drowsing) but thoroughly awake when we play the Brahms Hungarian Dances. (I suspect we woke a few other people up, too.) People I expected to see are in the audience, as well as people I didn’t expect to see, which was a lovely surprise indeed. Many compliments on the contrasting dynamics (ha!) and general loveliness of the evening. In my rush to get the boy home I forget to drop off my music post-concert and also to grab my lovely red water bottle from under my chair. (I remembered it when we were on the highway. Fortunately someone picked it up for me.)

Sunday: More work on the lecture notes. We manage to get the boy to nap early to facilitate the going-to-a-cello-lesson thing later. I bake brownies. Wake boy up just before 2:30, bundle him and cello into the car. HRH drops us off at my teacher’s house. The other little boy does not join us to observe the younger kids’ lesson, alas and to the boy’s disappointment, so it’s myself, the boy, and a parent. The girls have lots of fun, and the boy observes them very quietly for the first half and gets a bit squirmy during the last half. He is particularly fascinated by a game where instead of playing a note when it occurs in the music (an F, for example, or an open string) they stand up then sit down in strict time and then play the following note. He starts standing up and sitting down too. Also very interested in them using a ball in the left hand to move around the fingerboard while bowing. He informs people importantly that he was at the concert last night. He does not embarrass me in any way (not that I expected him to) although he came close when he initially darted into the room between the instruments and both I and my teacher lunged after him, telling him to never, ever run around the cellos. (He knows this; we have the same rule at home. But it was a new place and had all sorts of exciting things to look at. He’s three, as we all keep forgetting.)

HRH returns to pick the boy up and take him to the b-o-o-k-s-t-o-r-e to play with the train layout. I tell him to come back for me between 5:15 and 5:30, closer to 5:30; he misunderstands me completely. We have our group lesson, which is great. We run a bit late and I dart out at 5:45… to find no one there. Apparently HRH showed up between 5:00 and 5:15 and gave up on me not five minutes before I emerged, thinking I must have said 6:15. The car arrives at 6:05. No harm done; it’s not like the weather is driving sleet or bitter wind.

HRH has picked up WALL*E on DVD while the boy and I are at the group lesson; we all go home and watch it while eating dinner. The boy is absolutely riveted, and despite the lateness of dinner and so forth we decide to allow him to watch the whole thing before going to bed. (After reading the last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner curled up with Mama and Dada in their bed, of course. See the earlier post.)

That, in a nutshell, was the weekend. There was a lot of music, which was lovely. I discovered yet again in the group lesson that I have a nicer tone than I think I do. It has been decided that I will play the first Bach minuet as a solo since someone else is now playing the third, which suits me just fine because that was the one I was going to choose anyhow. We got yet more new music. And I admit that I had to look up the music for “Twinkle” when I offered to play the theme while others played a great blues progression boogie-type thing under it. Yes, I am that lame; I need music for “Twinkle.” Also, it does wonders for the ego when I offer to switch from the group playing the theme to the blues progression to help support it and the teacher says, “If you do that I’ll be switching to the theme,” because it suggests I’m anchoring the part I’m playing with the others. Go me and my “Twinkle” skills! I really enjoy the group lessons. And I could feel a difference between my showing in this one as compared to the last one. I’m a lot happier with my sound, thanks to the tonalization work and the bow management I’ve been working on.

I was pleased with my showing at orchestra too. I nailed some of the harder scale passages and completely blew others (usually the ones I was confident about going into the concert, ironically enough). Turns out that we have a break at orchestra until early January. Our next guest conductor is very pregnant and is due next week or so, and there’s only one available date in December for our usual rehearsal space. So rather than trying to figure it all out we’re taking a six-week leave.

Okay, I think that’s everything. I have some serious writing to do this week as well as that freelance assignment, so off I go.