bunrab: (me)
I was discussing the phrase "ye gods and little fishes" with boyfriend the other day, and I swear I remember reading a book as a kid, in which a little girl used that phrase frequently to express her impatience with other people. I cannot remember what book it was - this odd notion comes to me that perhaps it was Cheaper By The Dozen??? Could that be right? If not, does anyone else remember such a little girl using that phrase, possibly in connection with walking to get ice cream? It's very odd what scraps the mind remembers.

I am too lazy to go to the library and find Cheaper By The Dozen just to see if that's it.

This year, our anniversary and Mother's Day came on exactly the same dates it did the year we got married, 1985. It would have been our 28th anniversary. I kept busy and didn't think about it too hard, because who wants to ruin someone else's nice Mother's Day dinner by bursting into tears?

My stepmother lost her first husband when she was considerably younger than I was when Steve died - and she had several small children to take care of as well. (If I recall, her youngest at the time was an infant.) I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her - and I can see why she would have been happy to meet my dad, even though it wasn't that long afterwards, because she must have been so lonely, surrounded by children who were a constant reminder of what she had lost, without being old enough to be useful in helping her cope with his loss. My stepbrothers and stepsisters never talked about their father very much, though I gather he was rather strict, and chronically ill.

Saturday was our condo community's annual group yard sale. Six boxes of books and two boxes of crafts magazines out the door, along with a few miscellaneous items. Steve's three torque wrenches were the first thing to be sold - lots of guys want those, apparently. The crowd, and what they're looking for, is rather different than Austin; fewer books sold than I had hoped (the leftovers went to the charity donation truck that came at the end, not back into my condo) and a lot more people were looking for clothing, which I hadn't even considered bringing because in Austin, it never sold well - only baby/little kids clothing ever sold at all. Here; people who had women's dresses and suits and shoes were doing a brisk business. I did get a few people who each took an armload of crafts magazines, though, and a few science fiction geeks who picked up 10-20 books apiece. Did a bit of electioneering for the condo board elections this summer - I'm serving as an appointed member, right now, filling in a vacant spot, but I need to get elected to a regular term, and, quite oddly for such things, we have 5 people running for the three open spots (usually it's hard to get anybody to run at all) - so I used this as an opportunity to talk to a bunch of neighbors I hadn't met before, and do a few good deeds - things I would have done anyway, of course, but now I mentioned that I was running, after helping people.

I had my quarterly device check today, and it looks like the battery is holding up enough that we don't have to schedule replacement for July - the power level is still a bit above even the "elective replacement" level, let alone the "mandatory replacement within 3 months" level. So we've scheduled the next quarterly check for August, 3 months from now, with the assumption that at that time, the power will have just dropped into elective replacement then, and since replacement is outpatient surgery, it can be scheduled fairly quickly, probably for later that week. The question will be whether I've healed enough to play in rehearsals that start up around Labor Day - I believe the first concert any of my bands have scheduled for next season is something like September 15. By now, my cardiologist is used to hearing that his schedule comes in somewhere less important than my concert schedule :D

Hey, anyone in Maryland: Maryland Community Band Day is June 9, noon to 8 pm, at the Lurman Woodland Theater in Catonsville. Montgomery Village Community Band is playing at 3 pm, and Baltimore Symphonic Band, as the host band, is playing last, at 7 pm. C'mon out and listen!
bunrab: (me)
I went to the US Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop this past week - and discovered that I enjoy it for its own sake, not just for Steve's memory, and that other people look forward to seeing me there for my own sake, not just because I'm Steve's widow. That was an interesting discovery.

There are a lot of things to enjoy at such a conference, even if one isn't a tuba player. It's a whole bunch of music for free. Recitals by excellent professionals, evening concerts by the Army's professional groups - Army Blues, the concert band, etc. And some of the sessions that were lectures or recitals-with-talks were interesting for any musician. The morning warm-up for tuba players included suggestions about breathing and maintaining embouchure that were surprisingly relevant to a bari sax player. And the conversations in the lobby and the bowling alley dining room (the only place for civilians to eat on base most of the time) and at restaurant meals are with people that share a lot of interests in discussing music of all sorts, and griping about community band conductors, and building a music library, and lots of other stuff that isn't just for tubas.

I got to make lots of ophicleide jokes with people who understand ophicleide jokes and have more in turn. There were vendors who recognized me, and wanted to chat. And I bought a cleaning kit for the bass trumpet, and a swab of sorts meant for cleaning a euphonium that I think will do a much better job on the bari sax neck loops than what I'm currently using. And a couple of euphonium mouthpieces which will fit into the sax neck, which is part of the ophicleide jokes. And I am going to practice the bass trumpet more, and maybe even borrow a euphonium to bring to next year's workshop, to participate a bit.
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One of the things I don't like is the process of getting there. Even though Ft. Myer is less than 50 miles away from me, the routes that all the mapping services and GPS suggest are roads that I particularly hate. The BW Parkway is poorly maintained, especially when it crosses into the district and becomes DC-295. Here's one of the more disconcerting steps in the Mapquest directions: "Southwest Freeway/I-695 N becomes I-395 S." That was at least equaled, if not exceeded, in weirdness, by driving right under a sign on the way home that stated that the road that I was on was "I-295 S/ DC-295 N" - really, really disconcerting.The entrances and exits of DC-295 aren;t in the same spots NB as SB. Neither are the entrances and exits to the George Washington Parkway. And neither are the entrances and exits to US-50. All of which means that one can NOT reverse directions to get home.

Saturday night, driving in the dark, I decided on an entirely different route. Since the concert got out early enough that we could still get out by the Wright Gate (the north gate to the army base, which closes at 9 p.m.), I went straight up Ft. Myer Drive which ends directly being an entrance to GW Parkway going Northwest, straight to the west side of I-495, the Beltway. No need to read dimly lit local street signs, no need to watch for intersections or parking lots or pedestrians once I was on GW. That route winds up being some 20 miles longer, total, to get home - but being so much simpler, with so many fewer turns, and more time on higher-speed highways, that it takes no longer - and is MUCH less stressful. I think next year I'll use that route to go TO the fort, right off the bat. Yes, it sounds bizarre, yes, it uses up more gas, but so much easier on my sensibilities (avoiding US 50 altogether has a LOT to recommend it) that it'd be worth the extra $2 worth of gas.

In other news, I finished Rage is Back (see previous post) and also Albert of Adelaide, an adult fable about a platypus who escapes from the Adelaide Zoo to go looking for the Old Australia, where animals are all free and live naturally. Instead he meets up with an arsonist wombat, and they have adventures which unfortunately include a bunch of killing. I think the takeaway is supposed to be something about the power of friendship and mutual support, but the lesson I got out of it was more that the supposed good old days were actually violent, and lives were uncomfortable and short, with violent ends; modern "captivity" is actually a hell of a lot better quality of life. That's just me; you read it and see if you get more of that touching "buddy" feel out of it.
bunrab: (Default)
LoudTwitter seems to be dead for the moment, so I guess I'll actually have to type in a post! Of course, the main thing on my mind right now is patriotic music - we'll be playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, in various locations, and I will be heartily sick of Battle Hymn of the Republic before we're done.

Let's see, photos:


The older I get, the more I look like my dad. This is from last Friday, when we went over to Delaware to visit my folks, because my brother J and his family had flown in from CA to see them. So we had a small gathering of those family members who were nearby and happened to be free on a weekday, which came to 10 adults, 10 children and 1 teenager, and we all invaded the Smyrna Diner, which coped pretty well. Don't worry, we left them a really good tip.



And here's my brother J, and me, with his wife and their two daughters.

And here's all the tweets you've missed since LoudTwitter went down:
a long list )

ETA: since cut-and-paste from Twitter doesn't give the whole link, here's the links:
http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=4441
http://bit.ly/XWn1t
http://www.nps.gov/fowa/planyourvisit/events.htm ~~CONCERT, you want to come to this one!!
http://tinyurl.com/l5jojm
http://tr.im/qmKs - jobs!
http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=4363
bunrab: (bunearsword)
Reading: Liquid Jade (about tea); Beyond Red and Blue (about politics); Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (interminably long fantasy, which I am about 1/3 of the way through after 2 weeks of hacking away at the underbrush.)

Music: Went to BSO concert last Friday, going to another one this Friday - that would be today! - last one of this season. Baltimore Symphonic Band played at Charlestown Retirement, here in Catonsville, on Tuesday. Bel Air Community Band will be playing at Shamrock Park in Bel Air on Sunday evening at 7. Next Montgomery Village concert is June 28.

Knitting:


Started June 1, finished June 12! No pattern, just two rectangles, with a V-neck worked into one of them. It's knitted, not crocheted. Has baby cables in it. Craft cotton in the big cheap skeins, one skein.

And before that, there was this one, in May, same deal except I hadn't figured out as much about the shaping yet:



That, and cleaning bunny litter boxes, and cleaning up the old house, packing a bit more at a time each day - almost completely empty now, and it's already being shown!
bunrab: (Default)
and now they go past yours via Twitter:


  • 21:58 vanity plate: SCANS #
  • 23:27 major accident on I-95 south of exit 35 a couple miles; most emergency veh. are on southbound but a few are on left ln of northb. #
  • 23:28 at least 3 fire. 2 ambulance. 2 hwy patol on our side (north) and 4 or more hwt ptrl on south side. South traffic major delay. #
  • 23:30 glimpsed one veh. in median ditch, appeared to be SUV, right side up - but there must be more to warrant that turnout. #
  • 23:31 for random T readers, the preceding refers to I-95 in Maryland. Prince Georges Cty near Laurel #
  • 23:36 thankful for 20 yrs rehearsing w/ Dick Floyd in Austin - sometimes at rehearsals here, one can tell that S & I are only ones watching co ... #
  • 23:37 too long? THAT WAS: thankful for rehearsal habits Dick Floyd/ ASB drilled into us over 20 yrs. #
  • 23:39 this eve, S & I *only* ones who noticed tempo change at 1 point. #
  • 23:41 I am getting better still at reading bass clef bassoon parts; STILL cant transpose tenor clef parts on the fly, though. #
  • 15:57 dynamic sign: Use caution caution/ Road work ahead. #
  • 15:59 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. #
  • 16:24 well, we are finally past the roadwork, the everybody-out-of-the-way for a cavalcase, amd the major accident closing 2 of 3 lanes. #
  • 16:24 we certainly won't make the 4:15 pm recital #
  • 19:33 The Trombone Workshop seems much more orchestra-oriented than the Tuba conference. #
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Dec. 19th, 2008 11:57 pm
bunrab: (bathtub warning)
So here's what I've been doing the last couple weeks: two weeks ago, caught a cold. Hasn't completely gone away yet. Tried taking pseudoephedrine to stop the snot, and got zapped by my ICD for my trouble. The day after that (last Friday) drove up to Philadelphia to see niece in high school play - she is a freshman, but got one of the front parts usually reserved only for seniors; the family habit of singing loudly in public at the drop of a hat has some uses. Came back Saturday afternoon; played holiday concert at CCBC-Essex with the BSB on Saturday night. Sunday afternoon, I played a holiday concert with the Montgomery Village Community Band, while [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet played one with the Bel Air Community Band, each 40 miles in opposite directions from C'ville. And at that, we missed two other performance opportunities we had for the same afternoon; since Thanksgiving was so late this year, the number of weekends available for holiday performances is scrunched down, so a lot of things were happening at the same time.

Monday, I slept. Well, woke up for meals, but otherwise slept. Tuesday I also slept, though I woke up for taking Chippy-chin to the vet for a follow-up; he is almost all healed up from Darwin's attack. Wednesday, let's see, I believe I actually woke up for a few hours Wednesday, and worked on the many homemade holiday presents I have not yet finished. Thursday we went to the library, and I finished buying the last few little things I needed to buy for assorted nieces and nephews. Then Thursday evening, Cindythelibrarian took us to see a show, as part of her Christmas present to us. The show was "Every Christmas Story Ever Told" presented by the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and it was great. A three-man show doing them all - Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and (due to copyright issues) Gustav the Green-Nosed Reingoat. If you're in the area, it's playing through Sunday. My favorite part was the first act closer, The Nutcracker ballet. If you're on my flist, chances are you are familiar with Anna Russell's version of The Ring Cycle; imagine the Nutcracker condensed that way and you about have it. Complete with actual ballet dancing, done very well and very funnily. (Funnier for women my age than for men, because women of my generation, if we were anywhere above poverty level and even some below, we took ballet lessons when we were six years old or so; it was just one of those things. Ten years older and you probably didn't; ten years younger and you probably didn't, but all of us who are fifty-mumble took those lessons, whether at a dance school, or cheap group public school stuff on Saturdays in the gym, we all learned the five positions, and plies, and so on. Bit of cultural literacy there.) The second act was a merger of Dickens' A Christmas Carol and "It's a Wonderful Life" and then ended by singing every Christmas song ever written in about three minutes. We really enjoyed it.

And Friday, today (or yesterday, depending on how you feel about nights and stuff), I went to the doctor and got some stuff that's supposed to stop the nose drip without causing hypertension or arrhythmia; we'll see how that works. Also stopped at Jo-Ann's and got some yarn for one last teddy bear xmas present, and at Trader Joe's for freeze-dried strawberries; the chinchillas get VERY peeved if we run short on strawberries, and one really doesn't wish to risk the wrath of a peeved chinchilla. And now I am back to working on those presents - gotta finish place mats for Steph, potholders for Jen, teddy bear for Luke...

I have not had time or energy, outside of concerts and colds, to do any xmas shopping for anybody not part of my immediate family. If some of you normally get a Solstice/Chanukah/xmas present from me, well, this year, expect a New Year's present, or an Epiphany present, or maybe even a Martin Luther King Jr. Day present... There are a couple small things going out in the mail tomorrow to Texas, and a couple more small things on Monday, that might get there before New Year's.

One of the things we haven't done, either, is get up to NYC, which I wanted to do. Since the Museum of Natural History keeps their tree up through the end of the month, I am thinking we might go the week after Christmas; even though it'll be a little more crowded 'cause kids have off from school, a weekday should still be tolerable. Possibly Monday the 29th. (T, I'll call you about possible lunch!)

Now back to work.
bunrab: (bass)
Evelyn Glennie performs barefoot.

Friday evening's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert opened with Wagner - "Brunhilde's Immolation" - yeah, it's Wagner. All the percussion toys for Glennie were already out on the stage at the beginning, so it looked odd. Then after the Wagner, the lights dimmed and we started hearing eerie noises and then Glennie comes creeping up the aisle, hunched over and playing what looks like a bird cage with a drum head on the bottom, using a violin bow on the bird cage bars. Very creepy. And, as mentioned, she's barefoot. The piece was Michael Daugherty's "UFO" consisting of five movements: Traveling Music; Unidentified; Flying; ??? [yes, that's its name, no, I don't know how it's pronounced]; and Objects. The ??? movement consists solely of Glennie and the contrabassoon. A lot of the piece was jazzy - could definitely hear hints of "Mission: Impossible" and Pink-Panther-theme type jazz in it - but a lot of it was just spacey - new agey and gimmicky, the sort of thing that reminds me that one person's "playful and joyous" is another person's "that's not music, it's sound effects!" I wouldn't want to buy the piece on CD, because a great deal of what made it interesting was watching Glennie in action - even though she was looking sort of spacey and new-agey herself - barefoot, long hair, sort of hippie-style loose calf-length dress. Anyway, over all, a success.

The second half was Holst's Planets, a piece I love love love. Mostly it went spectacularly well, although there was one teeny burble in the trumpets at one point. No matter, it is always a gorgeous piece. It also includes a contrabassoon, so the evening was definitely contra-intensive!

Continuing the outer space theme, next week is Mahler's "Titan" - well, Mahler wasn't thinking of Saturn's moon but after hearing The Planets, how could I help but make that connection?

My own apparel was mixed - I wanted to dress up for the opening weekend of the season, and bought* a turquoise sweater and brown-and-turquoise plaid skirt - and then discovered that since we haven't finished unpacking after moving in June, I had no idea where my brown shoes were. I wound up wearing brown ankle boots that looked rather silly with panty hose, but it was that or sneakers, my black and silver band concert uniform shoes, or my motorcycle boots! If I had gotten the turquoise tights to go with the sweater, I think the boots would have looked better, but I didn't. Note to self: for next weekend's concert, either find more of your clothes or more of your shoes, so that stuff matches! And definitely before niece's wedding in November, which is another occasion I intend to wear some of today's clothing purchases.

*Cindy-the-librarian and I went clothes shopping Friday afternoon, to collect some autumn clothing. We resisted more than we purchased, but some purchases were made. I do have several occasions coming up this fall to dress up. I also bought some knee socks just for fun; [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, I think you would be envious of some of them, like the over-the-knee ones that would look terrific with your boots.
bunrab: (Sniffy)
Whew. Band Day was fun but exhausting. All went well. The bands all did great programs. The ice cream vendor sold out of all flavors. After we got home, I slept till 4:30 Monday afternoon.

The house is almost ready for us to move in - the painters were doing the final touch-ups today; the new windows are installed and the sunroom shades re-loaded; the washer-dryer vent and power are up and running; the electrician just has to do one more electrical outlet in the kitchen. We have started carrying all sorts of loose stuff over there, but I need to call a mover and get a firm date in order to push me into getting really moving. I have finished crocheting one cotton throw rug for the floor, but I have to get a non-skid backing for it yet; I will take a pic once the rug is all smooth and flat.

Cindythelibrarian has brought us an armful of flattened boxes so I have no excuse not to start packing!!

Recent reading:
Lisa Scottoline, Daddy's Girl - plucky law professor up for tenure gets caught up in giant prison plot. OK, if not great.
G.M. Ford, Nameless Night - amnesia, the NSA and NASA - it's a thriller. Not my usual cup of tea but this was good, and the beginning, with the amnesia patient, tied in interestingly with that book about traumatic head injury I read a couple weeks ago.
Justin Scott, Mausoleum - latest in his Ben Abbott series; as usual, real estate developers are the bad guys. I have a quibble with this series, which is that its protagonist supposedly has a felony conviction and multiple-year jail term in his past and yet somehow had no trouble getting both a PI license and a Realtor license?
bunrab: (soprano_sax)
It has been a musicky couple of weeks. Friday a week ago, we went to a BSO concert. Piano soloist for the Prokofiev was spectacular; it must have been exhausting for the concertmaster just sitting next to her. She did two encores, each one faster: first an arrangement of Rondo a la Turk that sounded like something that Horowitz might have done, and then Flight of the Bumblebee, faster than I have ever heard it on any instrument whatsoever. The second half was Symphony Fantastique, and it was great - the tubas nailed their solo, and they got to stand up and take a bow for it, and the entire thing was just wonderful.

Tuesday night, we got to watch the BSO rehearsing for the upcoming concert - it was the first rehearsal where all the choruses and the orchestra were together, for rehearsing Carmina Burana. It was fascinating watching Alsop's rehearsal technique - and also impressive to see the professionalism of the orchestra; any community band musician will recognize what I mean when I say that when she stops, they stop - if she stops on the first note of an eight-note triplet, NOBODY plays the second note. And nobody starts talking immediately, either. Wish we could get even 1/100th of that into our community groups.

And Friday we attended the performance of Carmina. The first piece was actually a piece of Samuel Barber's Medea, and Alsop gave a short lecture on the plot and had the orchestra play a couple of measures of the meaningful themes. THat is one scary piece - which goes with the plot, yes - if you don't know it, look it up (small hint: she eats her children.) The Carmina went off beautifully. The baritone was slightly more restrained than in rehearsal - he had to be; he had several people cracking up a bit during rehearsal with his gestures to accompany "Ego sum abbas;" there still were gestures that were nicely expressive of the segment, though. He will be worth watching - anyone who can be that expressive and who clearly is having that much fun doing it, while singing well, can probably get work anywhere. The program notes translated "wafna" as "woe." The tenor was an excellent roasted swan. And the soprano wore a red dress that rustled, to go with the lyrics in one of her verses. Alsop also had a Q&A session after the concert - I enjoy those; we've stayed for them several times in the past. Turned out there were people from the Cincinnati Opera in the audience, among other things.

Saturday morning we had a dress rehearsal in Bel Air. I do not rehearse well at 10 a.m. And Sunday afternoon was the concert - it went off reasonably well, though not perfect. The audience liked it. Well, it's hard to go wrong with "Four Scottish Dances" with that drunken bassoon solo, and then the music from the 3rd "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Monday night, Bel Air starts rehearsing for Maryland Community Band Day, and Wednesday night down in Montgomery Village, we have our last Band Day committee meeting, before rehearsal; my part is pretty much finished, except for playing bari sax in three of the eight bands that will be performing! Between those three bands and my committee/volunteer t-shirt, I will have five clothing changes that day...

Oh yeah, we settled on the house, it's ours; the painters and electricians are doing their thing and should be finished by the end of next week, and the windows should be here by then, so we can probably move in right after band day. We haven't started packing yet.
bunrab: (Default)
New House: We finally got the contract negotiated, so we are buying the house with the garage! Settlement (closing) should be the last week in April. Whee!

Old House: Finished with the bathroom remodel! The contractors did it in less than a week! The bathroom no longer has dark brown indoor-outdoor carpeting, grey-and-white plastic wall tile, a mustard yellow tub enclosure, blue swan-shaped nonskid stickies on the tub floor, and pink ceramic towel bars. It now has white tile floor, new tub, white tile around the tub with an accent row of narrow tiles in a brown and tan design, which matches the brown and tan wallpaper. New low-flow toilet that works properly, new sink which is a pedestal sink rather than a vanity, so that one doesn't walk into the corner of the vanity cabinet every time one walks into the room, plus there's room on the floor for the scale. It's never going to be a luxury bathroom, not at 5 feet by 8 feet, but it's now reasonably attractive and efficient.

Music: Went to hear the Austin Lounge Lizards at Wolf Trap last Thursday. They're still good, still funny.


Books:
Rebecca York's werewolf series:
Killing Moon
Edge of the Moon
Witching Moon
Crimson Moon

A certain sameness to all of them - acceptable mystery plots, but the villains are pretty much all the same sort of serial sex pervert murderer who is trying to use kidnapped or controlled women to build up magical powers, and our werewolf hero who has trouble coming to terms with his werewolfness, plus the woman scientist-of-some-sort (medical researcher, botanist, etc.) who is in love with him, must defeat said villain, during the which it is revealed to the woman that the man she loves is a werewolf. They're not all identical, but similar. Edge of the Moon actually involves two non-werewolf peripheral characters from the first book.
Also on a Marion Nestle binge - she's the nutritionist/economist from whom Michael Pollan gets a lot of his stuff. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health is mostly a rant about how industrial agriculture and its lobbyists diluted the Food Pyramid to the point of uselessness - a good rant, but a rant. There are also bits about food terrorism and food fearmongering in there; I had a bunch of notes scribbled down of things to mention, but now I can't find the notes. What to Eat is interesting, but waaaay too long. The average grocery shopper is not going to wade through all of that, even though it's got some very useful information - for example, for people who complain that they don't buy fresh produce because it's too expensive, Nestle shows how you can eat seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day for less than a dollar per person, which puts it within the budget of most families. (The current recommended amount is 9 servings, but most people don't even get seven, so that would already be an improvement.)
The most recent two in J.D. Robb's (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas series, Creation in Death and Strangers in Death. As usual, they're good, though not great literature. The usual mix of Rourke-owns-everything, Eve's-cars-fall-apart, hot sex scenes, and unlikely but fascinating villains.
Hitman, lastest in Parnell Hall's Stanley Hastings series. Hastings is confused, as usual, and there turns out to be more than one hitman.
bunrab: (Default)
Tonight's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert was quite good. I've never been that enthused about any of the Leonora overtures (which, let me remind you, are to the opera Fidelio, as there is no Leonora opera) but the performance of the L#3 was good. It was the Christopher Rouse flute concerto that really surprised me - I was prepared to not like a dissonant modern (1993) piece. And parts of it were dissonant. But parts were beautiful. One of the things Rouse (who was there tonight, and took a bow) had said was that when he was writing it, he heard about the 2 kids who murdered another kid, that had recently happened then, and so he turned it into an elegy. And indeed, the 4th and 5th movements are as stirring and powerful as any elegy or requiem in the classical literature. He knows how to use those chords, you know the ones, where the notes and the tone color all say death and hope - prayers for the dead and the hope of resurrection. Whether or not you believe in any sort of resurrection, or prayers, has nothing to do with it - those chords mean "pray for the dead and hope for resurrection." Well, they were done quite powerfully. The flute winds in and around and through there, there are lots of bassoon solos as well, as there must be in any requiem (think of Brophy's Diskworld Symphony), then the 4th movement ends with a bunch of crashing and dissonance that nonetheless makes sense, and the 5th movement starts softly, with more of a flute melody and those death-and-hope chords behind it, building, but then fading again, and the concerto ends with just the sustained flute and a very soft chord in which the bassoons were primary.

The Beethoven 5 was great. Started off at a slightly brisker tempo than the one in the template in my head, which made it sound fresher. (We all have that for the warhorses, don't we? Whichever recording we heard over and over as a kid, that's what that piece sounds like in our heads forever.) And Alsop did a signing after the concert, of the new CD release of the BSO doing Dvorak. She is very chatty and personable while signing.

We ate a bit too much tortellini at Sabatino's afterward.

Oh, and would you believe, I wore a dress to this concert? Granted, it was with tights and black lace-up boots, as though I were 25, instead of the stockings and heels people my age are supposed to wear, but still, a dress! I bought a couple of them last month - one for this summer, when the Baltimore Symphonic Band tours Eastern Europe, and I want to have a dress in which I can sit at a sidewalk cafe in Vienna and look elegant. Anyway, dress, and a real coat instead of my beat-up faux ski jacket. Almost a respectable adult.
bunrab: (alien reading)
All those concerts went off just fine. It was fun doing the show at CCBC Essex - and, at intermission Saturday night I bought a few raffle tickets before heading back to the stage; I wound up winning two wreaths! I picked them up from the box office today. Artificial wreaths, nicely decorated. Now all I have to do is find the wreath hanger I *know* I bought last week, so I can put one up at the front door. I will take pictures once I get it hung.

Sunday's concerts also went well. Cindy came with me to Montgomery Village; [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet went up to Bel Air. Both concerts had more people in the audience than in the band - always a good thing! S had a solo in one of the pieces in his concert. The MV concert collected over 7 large bins of toys for the Marines' "Toys for Tots" - good thing they sent three Marines to pick them up!

I got all my cards printed up for the PetBunny list rabbit-themed card exchange, and half of them actually mailed out. Possibly I'll get the rest mailed out before the end of this week!

Recent reading:
Faye Kellerman, Burnt House - latest in her Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series. Starts off with a *very* scary plane crash.
G.J.Sawyer and Viktor Deak, et al., The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans - well, it's stretching it a bit to call all of these human. It's the pictures of the reconstructions from skeletons that are the draw of this book. I'll admit, a whole bunch of the australopithecines look the same to me. The text has some flaws - a rather gory focus on prehumans being killed by animals and/or cannibalized by their own kind; the annoying use of the term "apemen," references in a couple of places to Oreopithecus as though that were one of the species in the book, when it isn't. Includes Homo floriensis even though as far as I know the jury is still out on whether that really is a separate species.
Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas. Nothing to do with the alleged "war on christmas," this is about the history of celebrating christmas and how it reflects economic class struggles. I think I'm going to do a detailed review over on Amazon - I'll post a link when I get that done.
bunrab: (bathtub warning)
We had tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Recher Theater in Towson (center north area of the Baltimore Beltway, home of Towson State University, about 20 minutes from our house) this evening. We went. "Doors open at 7" so we got there a couple minutes before 7. Well, first, we went in - and there were no seats. It's just a big open area with a stage at one end and bars on three sides. Not even folding chairs. Not even bar stools at the bars. So I guess one is supposed to treat it as a bar that happens to have entertainment - but that's not what we expected when we bought *tickets* - not something bars usually sell - to a place called a *theater*. So now we know: always ask first if the theater has seats. Then. We waited. Since we didn't feel like drinking alcohol, there was nothing to do but wait. No one had any idea of when the band would actually come on. Finally sometime after 8 p.m. and heading toward 8:30, we decided we had been standing around watching other people drink for long enough, and we left. Not having seen nor heard the band. We asked for a refund but they wouldn't give us one. Well. Guess where's one place we won't be going again no matter WHO is playing?

We did eat supper in Towson after that. We ate at a sushi place - apparently Towson has some sort of municipal ordinance that says that any restaurant MUST include a sushi bar. This particular one was called Olive & Sesame, which sounds more Middle Eastern to me. But it served Chinese food as well as sushi, and, in particular, what made us choose it even after discovering that it was not Middle Eastern, was that they had a section of the menu devoted to what they called "Revolution Diet" - steamed food with no salt, sugar, or cornstarch, served with sauces on the side so that one could control how little or how much sauce to add. So I got shrimp and veggies, with a Szechwan (Sechuan, whatever) sauce, and used only a minute amount of it, and thus had almost no sodium at all other than that which occurs naturally in shrimp. Great idea!

But boo on the Recher "Theater." Boo hiss.
bunrab: (bass)
Since [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet is out of town, [livejournal.com profile] sanada came with me to Thursday evening's Baltimore Symphony concert instead. She did not regret the absence of a tuba in the entire performance the way spouse would have. (Hey, they had a double-valve bass trombone and a contrabassoon in all three pieces, that should be enough, but no, Spouse would want tuba in everything.)

music nerd stuff about the concert )

Re dinner: we ate dessert first!
bunrab: (saxophone)
Monday: the aforementioned bike ride to Bel Air for the Bel Air Community Band awards banquet.
Tuesday: Baltimore Symphonic Band played at Riderwood Retirement Village, in Silver Spring, to a full house. Playing at another Ericsson community next Tuesday.
Wednesday: Montgomery Village Community Band steering committee meeting before rehearsal. Got all the details finalized for May 20, June 3, and July 4 concerts. It's nice having a sponsoring foundation that accepts as right and natural that the band needs a 20 x 40 shade tent and a few cases of cold water at outdoor concerts; you'd be amazed at the number of non-musicians who wouldn't consider that a necessary expense.
Thursday: Drove over to Delaware, where my brother JJ and his wife and daughters were visiting (they live in CA) my folks, who live near Dover. Ate lunch with JJ & Co, went over to folks' house and schmoozed; ate supper with folks. Attempted to leave Dover about 9 PM, found out after the first 65 or so miles of the trip about the accident on the Bay Bridge, had to retrace our route back about 40 miles and take a 50 mile detour from there, thereby doubling the length of the journey. Neither scenic nor fun. Delaware doesn't have a whole lot to recommend it if one is not enamoured of slot machines.
Friday: our 22nd anniversary. We went to the Kennedy Center to see Peter Schikele with the NSO. He's older than he used to be, but still funny! He does crosswords with a pencil. (Go ahead, ask me how one would discover that during a symphony orchestra concert.) The chorus wore robes - bathrobes. It was an excellent event, and we got our money's worth!

Now: exhausted.
Tomorrow: sleep late. Send [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet out to pick up mail before PO closes, because I doubt I'll be out of bed in time to do it.
bunrab: (Default)
Went to Wolf Trap Thursday evening to attend concert by Austin Lounge Lizards. Purchased new CD, got it autographed, received free pen for Progenitorivox. Great evening, good to see an old friend who had left Austin before we did, and to meet his wife, and also several other people from MWM, whom we will run into again at the Memorial Day RG.

The new album is a hoot. The new fiddler is OK as a fiddler, even better as a mandolin player, and pretty funny as an ensemble member. The concert was being recorded/filmed/video'd - how does one say that? - for eventual release as a DVD, so you too may get to see it.
bunrab: (bass)
Since neither of us plays trombone, we did not attend the entire Eastern Trombone Workshop, but we did go to the Grand Finale concert this evening. Reading the program, once we were there, made us wish we had in fact gone to more of it; there were many sessions that sounded like interesting topics despite being addressed to (shudder) trombones. detailed music geekery follows )
We came home by was of the Silver Diner in Laurel, where apparently most of the teenage population of Laurel was having milkshakes and arguing. Incidentally, we had forgotten the GPS unit; we are *so* proud of ourselves for finding Ft. Myer without it, and for getting out of Ft. Myer and back to the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy without it! (The routes to and from Ft. Myer are not the same. It is apparently not possible to get heah from theah, even though you can get theah from heah.) Fort Myer, for those wondering, is right next door to Arlington National Cemetary, and can most easily be found by following the signs to the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Well, Sunday *we* have a gig to play, so I need to think about some rest. I'll report on that, plus the latest in science trivia/news, next time.

Some of you still haven't tried the Kelly Quiz!
bunrab: (Default)
Recent reading: Roman Dusk by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. I had started this months ago, and then it got buried under piles of stuff; I finally found and finished it. It's another in the St. Germaine series, filling in the spaces - takes place in Rome, 3rd century CE, after Marcus Aurelius and into the really crappy emperors, so it's a few centuries after Blood Games. In this volume, for most of the book Roger is off elsewhere looking after St. Germaine's business interests. The Christians are still newish at being Christians, but already Yarbro, and St. Germaine, don't like them (although she briefly mentions the Peterine Christians, who lived quite differently from the Pauline ones, which became the Catholic church we've got; compare the Peterine ones to the odd Christian group in China in, which was it, Path of the Eclipse? I don't remember for sure.)

Concert: we went down to Fort Myer to hear the Army Blues do a concert celebrating Women in Jazz. Good concert. Fort Myer, FYI, is an Army base which is a self-contained entity, with its own ZIP code and all, entirely surrounded by the city of Arlington, VA. One can walk from Fort Myer to Arlington National Cemetary, or to the Pentagon for that matter. Getting out of there to return home involves a different route from getting to there, because of the peculiar one-way-ness and lack of matching east-west entries to several area highways. So, after we ate supper at a diner about a mile from the base, here's how we got back: follow Washington Blvd to I-395; when I-395 sort of veers off to the right, keep going straight, which means you're suddenly on I-295 South. Get off I-295S at the Pennsylvania Ave exit, which actually takes one onto a long exit ramp that goes over a bridge, and just as you're about to reach the actual Pennsylvania Ave, at the first traffic light, instead you turn left onto DC-295 North, which after a while turns into the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (no highway number, despite that it's still a limited-access 55-mph highway connecting important points), and then take the exit from BW Parkway that leads to I-495/I-95 North. Then when I-495 and I-95 split apart, follow I-95 back to Baltimore. Would those of my readers not from the US like a digression on how our highway systems are numbered? Like, what's the difference between a US Interstate Highway, and a US Route, and a State Highway, and how some roads can be all three at once, with a different number for each one? Or why there are several completely separate roads named I-495? Just ask, and I'll bore you to tears with the details.
bunrab: (chinchillas)
Let's see. Another magazine received, Skeptical Inquirer. (And all the usual weekly suspects.) Another catalog: Rejuvenation. Which, even though we don't own an old house any more, is still a gorgeous catalog full of stuff I'd love to have. (http://www.rejuvenation.com/ , for those of you who want the lure of Arts-and-Crafts chandeliers.)

We had lunch Saturday with the Mature Mensans, a monthly event. One of the guys, on the younger end of "mature" (those of us between 50 and 60, rather than over 60), has brought his teenage daughter to lunch in the past, and brought both her and his slightly younger son; both are nice kids, well-educated, literate, and properly appreciative of old farts who insist on telling them about how it used to be.

Saturday evening we drove down to Fairfax to hear the City of Fairfax Band, a community band about as large as the one we left in Austin, a good 90 players or so - and an extremely well funded band it seems to be. It was quite a good concert, though the trumpet soloist, the first chair from their trumpet section, seemed rather ordinary to us; there are a couple of players in the Montgomery Village Community Band who could have done Reed's "Ode for Trumpet" better. (The whole concert was a tribute to Alfred Reed.) A nice selection of music, and a rousing job on Reed's "Armenian Dances."

Today I finally got a bunch of the Elfa shelving up on one of the basement walls, and got a dozen or so boxes of fabric unpacked onto said shelves - not quite half filling them. How long have we been in this house? 15 months? 'Bout damned time. Anyway, the basement is already beginning to look clearer; those dozen boxes cleared up some walking space. By re-arranging the cats' accessories, then the big desk, we will clear up some more space, and can then start unpacking a bunch of the boxes labelled "desk stuff." (All those who think we're going to get that much more done immediately, I have a bridge to sell you.)

And tonight I made a casserole out of macaroni, shredded and grated cheese, and leftover meatloaf. It came out surprisingly edible. It may be a truism that enough grated Parmesan cheese will make almost any entree edible.

Oh yeah, did I mention additional book read? Dana Stabenow's A Deeper Sleep, latest in her Kate Shugak series. Good series, although reading about Alaska while it's winter here tends to make one need a throw or wrap for the armchair...

I think my favorite chapter in Trilobites! is the one about the eyes. Trilobite eyes are so cool.

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