Weekend Review

I cannot find my CD of William Boyce symphonies anywhere, and it is making me very cranky because that’s what I want to listen to this morning, damn it. I have to settle for Percy Grainger piano stuff instead. Which is nice to rediscover and all, but he’s not William Boyce.

The weekend ranged from really quite nice to argh and back again.

1. Lovely weather. Everyone’s health seemed to improve somewhat, at least during daylight hours. Thumbs up.

2. Saturday morning: We found HRH a new fall jacket, I picked up some heel liners for my red shoes, and then we headed out to Longueuil to pick up my cello. And oh joy, it sounds bee-you-ti-full. My cello has always been easy to play (in the getting-sound-out-of-it sense, not the oversized-body-thick-neck-argh sense), but now it’s even easier! I always forget how strings deteriorate in sound quality over time, and the awful warp on the bridge certainly wasn’t helping. I, like an absent-minded sick person, wore a long straight denim skirt and a black sweater along with my red shoes. Lovely for a day out in fall; not so conducive to cello-playing. No matter; I sat with both knees together and to the left, and played the cello side-saddle to hear how it sounded. The ten year old girl there renting her first violin gave me a surprised look. Anyway, lovely, lovely sound: I love the feel of the strings, the new scoop on the fingerboard makes thumb position easy to play (I never thought I’d say that, ever) and the bridge is just beautiful and looks so much sturdier than my last one from my now-ex-luthier. They reshaped the pegs, too. “Really?” I said. “They were fine — never stuck, never slipped.” “You’d have noticed sooner or later,” the assistant luthier said darkly. “They were decidedly… oval.” And then he asked shyly about the mystery cello, which is still tucked away along a wall of the workroom, so I obliged him by telling him the Secret Origin story. The luthier flew in from dealing with three people in the other room long enough to make sure I was thrilled with the tune-up and then apologised for not getting to the quote on the mystery cello; he said things were very busy. I assured him that of course it was busy, it was the beginning of the school year as well as the concert season, and not to stress about it. It’s going to take a while to restore anyway; a few weeks aren’t going to make much difference in the long run. It’s also not like the mystery cello is my main instrument, and I’ve lived fifteenish years of my cello-playing life without it. Of course I’m excited about it, but there’s no rush.

I forgot to buy rosin again. Again. I give up.

I didn’t bring my bow with me to test the new setup so they lent me one, and it’s a good thing I didn’t play with it for more then five minutes because I was falling in love with it. Perfect weight, nice balance, good springiness; more responsive than the one I currently use, which has been my favourite up till now. The assistant helpfully looked it up for me: pernambuco of Chinese make, four hundred dollars. If it had been three hundred I’d have bought it on the spot. But still, it’s a decent price for a pernambuco bow with those fittings and that kind of response. I keep telling myself there’s no point in buying a new bow now if I’m going to be playing a different cello in a few months. But I want it.

3. I finished Anathem last night, a brilliant philosophical story that reminded me a lot of the discussions we used to have after classes at the Liberal Arts College. And on Saturday I read the entirety of Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride, a book I obtained for review through MiniBookExpo. Best Austen sequel I’ve ever read.

4. HRH took down the awning on the back deck and removed the air conditioner from the kitchen window, replacing the regular windows instead. Suddenly there is a lot more light in the kitchen. He also moved the heater from the wall that backs onto the neighbours’ place (a inside wall, which makes no sense) to the half-wall in the kitchen that backs onto the living room, i.e., in the middle of the house (which makes a heck of a lot more sense). This involved buying electrical cord and a junction box, turning the electricity off, installing said junction box, feeding new cord around the kitchen, wiring it all in, turning everything back on to make sure it worked, then swapping baseboards to hide the old installation spot. Those of you who know HRH’s track record with electricity will be immensely gratified to hear that he did not experience a single shock. We’re going to look at doing the two similarly stupidly-placed heaters in the living room next, moving one to under the window (you know, where it’s actually needed) and removing the other entirely, which would enable us to put furniture along the walls. (What a concept!)

5. Saturday night I zoned out and forgot my on-line writing date with Ceri. I can’t even use falling asleep as an excuse.

6. Thanks to a timely question from Ceri on Friday, I realised that I’d written the harvest picnic down on the wrong day on the calendar. It was Sunday, not Saturday, and thus we had to cancel our appearance as it was in fact taking place concurrent with my mother in law’s birthday celebration. Grr.

7. We had the neighbours down for breakfast with us on Sunday. The waffles were so good we sent HRH back to the kitchen to make a second batch. Could have sat and zoned in the sunny living room all day, except we all had things to do.

8. I dug my first ever potatoes from the back garden on Saturday. They are so very adorable, ranging from the size of my thumb to the size of a Real Potato. We have enough for one meal. Note to self: next year, plant lots more potatoes. Although to be fair, this was a single potato that had sprouted in the darkness of the back cold closet that I chopped up and buried to see what would happen. Next year I’ll plant them seriously, at an earlier date and at a proper depth.

9. Lovely, lovely late afternoon visit with my in-laws on Sunday. I had a cappuccino as soon as I got there (thus averting the grumpy ‘no I can’t have after-dinner coffee with everyone else’ thing I always go through) and enjoyed it very much, along with the creamy Brie and crackers with rather fortified port wine jelly my mother in law set out for us all to nibble (last year’s jelly; it has aged, apparently). We had my father in law’s spectacular ribs for dinner and a light hazelnut cake for dessert. It was just so nice to sit down in the sun and watch the boy playing with Grandma. No energy, remember?

10. Laundry. Lots of laundry. Our clothesline snapped a few weeks ago and we keep forgetting to replace it, alas.

11. The cello still sounds lovely. It sounded much nicer at the lutherie, of course, because of the surroundings and because I wasn’t afraid to actually make noise. Pizzicato sounds terrific; nice sustain. I’m looking forward to playing it at orchestra on Wednesday.

12. Everyone else is getting somewhat better health-wise except me. Well, nights and mornings aren’t good for anyone, but I’m bad all the time. Everyone else is sleeping. Gnarr.

Right; my freelance assignment finally came through, so off I got to work.

PS: I have an iBook to play with for a week or so. Muah-hah-hah.