Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Weekend Roundup: Spring Concert Edition

We had a good dress rehearsal Friday night. This church has fabulous acoustics. The celli were a bit crushed as the front pew hadn’t been moved, so some of us were staggered and our principal ended up turned so that she was almost facing the sanctuary instead of the first violins. They had lovely padded folding chairs, though, and bonus cushions that some of the cellists filched from the pews to use as added elevation at the back of the seats.

On Saturday we had a very relaxed day at home, for which I was very thankful because I was fighting a low-grade but insidious headache for most of the day. Looking for music to listen to in my burned CD box, I found the copy of the Aria soundtrack mp3s that Marc gave me. Now, I know that theoretically the Xbox can play mp3s, and I wanted to listen to this music without calling it up on the computer and turning my speakers so that they faced the door to the office, so I turned the console on and put in the disc. The Xbox does indeed play mp3 discs! (Not that I doubted you in the least, Ceri. I just needed to prove it to myself.) The problem was that the Xbox wasn’t being run through the stereo (it used to be, but must have been accidentally left out of the last Massive Rewiring Run that also ended up running the Blu-Ray player through the stereo only and not the TV at all), so the music only came through the TV speaker, and sounded awful and flat. So when the boy went down for his nap, HRH unplugged everything, sorted it out, and wired all the consoles and the Blu-Ray player into the TV and thence to the stereo. We now have everything in surround. Muah-ha.

We had an early dinner, got dressed, and headed out. The boys dropped me off at the church for our warm-up, and went to feed Ceri and Scott’s cats and reassure them that they had not been abandoned. From all reports the cats were kind of casual and all “Oh, hi. Food? Well, if you want to, but we’re not starving.” (Which is, I suppose, a good thing. But somewhat odd, as anyone with cats will know.) The concert was very well-attended, with the church pretty much full. A huge thank you for their attendance and support goes out to Paze, Tamu and Patrick, John and Mel, HRH and the boy, and Marc M, who left another engagement to come to the concert and then went back, bless him.

The concert went very well. It was tight and a lot of fun. Oddly enough, I didn’t have the choking-up problem at the end of the Butterworth where I usually do; this time it was at the beginning, during the gorgeous clarinet solo. There was a minor hiccough in the Butterworth, but so very minor (although these things always seem major to the people involved when there’s a hiccough) and at the best possible moment it could have happened, a perfect transition point. I don’t remember anything particularly worthy of triumph on my part, but I do remember enjoying playing the Haydn even more than I usually do. I nailed one of the nasty Debussy bits I always fail at but fluffed it the second time it came up, most likely due to White Stick Syndrome. Overall, I enjoyed the whole thing. After the concert I got a spontaneous hug from the boy and an enthusiastic, “Mama, that music was so good!” Although when I put him to bed he seemed somewhat stuck on the wasps, asking why they kept coming back, and indeed why they were in the music at all to begin with. He wasn’t so sure about them.

(Today I opened iTunes and instead of choosing something specific, I wanted a surprise, something I probably hadn’t heard in a while. I told it to play my entire catalogue of mp3s on random. It gave me… Vaughan Williams’ ‘Wasps’ overture. I don’t know if this is evidence of a sense of humour, or evidence of a complete lack of one.)

Sunday morning HRH made waffles as a huge treat, and I did a batch of scones. The boy and I picked up Paze and Devon and headed out to our monthly Pagan playgroup. (This is why I made the scones. I proceeded to forget my Tupperware container there, sigh.) I’m having trouble settling into this year of the playgroup. It’s half again as big, which isn’t exactly the problem; it feels like there’s too many older kids feeding off one another, and it makes focusing hard. The older kids run around and act crazy in the next room before and after the meeting, and the boy always asks to join them. Every time I say no, because this is supposed to be a quiet, focused time for learning and crafts, and if he starts he won’t stop. “But they’re doing it,” is his standard comeback, to which I usually reply that just because someone else is doing it doesn’t make it right. And snack time used to be bowls of healthy things like veggies and fruit and cheese and scones, and this meeting had piles of cookies that the kids focused on instead of the hummus and pita and grapes. (The Girl Guide cookies for sale were a different matter entirely; they’re sealed. I was just stunned at the platefuls of cookies the older kids had, and which the boy asked for because he saw them; he ignored everything else because the older kids only ate the cookies. I’d like to see purchased cookies banned from the group’s snack time.)

We got home and the boy had only a bit of sandwich before nap time. HRH headed out to take a look at poor Mousme’s buckled basement floor after severe water damage (much more severe than anyone had suspected, as he discovered that there was pink insulation as well as that blue Styrofoam insulation packed between the floor joists, all of it still soaking wet from the flood, with water beneath it all). While he was out I made the heroic decision to pull out the top-down sleeveless sweater I cast on in April 2009 in order to work through the bits that scared me (binding off for the cap sleeves, casting on fewer stitches there in the next round to form the body under the arms). This is the sweater that I frogged last October and cast on to knit again, then stopped at the sleeves because I was worried that I’d ruin it somehow. I just went ahead and did it this weekend, reasoning that if I ruined it I’d only lose about four inches of work and could always start again. Anyway, the scary-to-me bits are done. I have some very iffy raglan increases and some loose stitches that I am hoping will block out when it’s all done. I’m past the hard part, but I am such a bad knitter that I managed to knit a circular rubber stitch marker INTO the row I was working on while I was doing a cable cast-on increase in the middle of a row. It’s now woven into the sweater. I’ll have to cut it out when it’s all done. I now see why some people use split rings as markers. However, now I’m on the straight knitting bit for the body of the sweater. I’d like to say it’s all fine from here, but I think there’s a bit of shaping under the bust. It’s probably just k2tog, but it’s the placing that’s tricky.

I had a cello lesson last night, where we played through some of the ensemble stuff. I have another this Wednesday, as my teacher is gone over Easter weekend, and then one next Tuesday because I’m gone the weekend and following week to help Mum after her surgery. I didn’t have a lot of focus; I kept wandering from tenor clef into bass in a piece that stayed entirely in one clef or the other (a holdover from Debussy and Vaughan Williams, which jumped back and forth between the two clefs all the time, I think) and dropping accidentals. Not my finest hour, but some good work done on phrasing and shifting nonetheless.

And then I came home and had a hot bath, started to reread the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and had a good sleep. The end.

Good Things

1. The leaves on the lilacs out back are ready to pop. They’re so excited about spring that even the branches have a green tinge to them.

2. This morning, thanks to a post on a weaver’s Yahoogroup I belong to, I followed a link to an Etsy listing, and I FOUND OUT WHAT MAKE MY LOOM IS! Yes, those are all caps, and no, I didn’t think I would be this excited about it, either. Turns out I have a Structo Artcraft 600 loom, probably from the late 1930s judging from the iron levers, when they stopped making toy looms and started making real ones. And just with that wee bit of knowledge I tracked down some Structo history, a Yahoogroup devoted entirely to Structo looms (where I found the original owner’s manual in pdf form with the original patterns done for it by a well-known weaver of the time), and had the excitement of adding my loom’s specs to my profile on Weavolution (sometimes referred to as “the weavers’ Ravelry”). I am so thrilled. There’s a whole subculture of Structo loom owners out there, and they’re considered sturdy workhorses with flexibility. Hmm, sounds like my Louet spinning wheel…

3. The taxes got done on Friday. It didn’t take as long as I expected it to because I had fewer receipts and such to sort out than previous years. I made more than I thought I did last year (the Canadian equivalent for my anthology editing fee was more than I remembered it being) and I spent much less, mostly because I wasn’t working on an original contracted book and so didn’t need the research materials. (Well, there’s also the fact that my two major purchases were a cello and a spinning wheel, neither of which qualify as work expenses.) I’ll probably break even, which is no fun because I was hoping for a couple of thousand back to dump on my Visa, or into my very empty ING account. But bundled together with HRH and with the RRSP tax credit, we’ll probably be okay. It’s done, which is the main thing.

4. My mum goes in for hip replacement surgery today. Keep her in your thoughts!

5. I have a pot of beautiful purple hyacinths that the boys brought home for me last week. They bloomed and now the entire house smells like spring. And I saw two little crocuses (crocii?) just about ready to open up in the front garden yesterday.

6. The concert rocked! More on that in the weekend roundup, which is next.