Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost ended

The year, with some swell parties and a dash of live music; someone at the last event was impatient for the changing of the calendar, and suggested starting 2011 fifteen minutes early arbitrarily. For some reason, he decided that would result in his being continually late. And they hadn't even passed around the champagne toasts yet...
I don't bruit my "resolutions" around, since that would mean some sort of compliance, enforced by knowing someone had heard them. Maybe the work at improving will eventually show.
Onward, all y'alls.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If the crick don't rise

All fairly smooth and uneventful this holiday; rolling along into the purportedly lighter times. Finished Virginia Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, which was much more traditional than her later ones, thus more accessible; have begun her collected short fiction, and can see the germination of her style. The Waves will follow. I did not like Mrs. Dalloway or To the Lighthouse when I read them years ago, but maybe I'll have a better appreciation of her these days. She has been very important to many subsequent writers.
Seem to have escaped a bug of some short but annoying duration, and am trying to get back into the exercise regimen which appears to keep me patched together. Such grayness and damp chill today, but my mother and her cohorts in their late morning exercises were fairly alert and cheerful. My mother observed that it looked nice outside, due to the absence of sideways rain no doubt.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fugeting along

You never know what will be going on when you visit my mother's place. One day the elderly wife of the only male housemate might be there deep-frying some kind of Norwegian Christmas cookies; another day, there is holiday caroling for breathing exercise, which the grumpy male resident boycotts. Another resident is in and out of the process of hospice, which evidently has been going on for quite a while. She is a mere whisper of a person, and it gives me pause to think how she persists.
Saturday, I attended the Christmas Luncheon up there; I had kept a leash on my expectations. It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon, with delicious Filipino foods, instrumental entertainment, and caroling. My mother seems to have gotten over her respiratory ailment, can hear better, and could be tempted to try the lumpia, and the delicious noodle dish called pansit. It had delicate noodles, fresh vegetables, and very nicely cooked Chinese sausage like we used to get in dim sum downtown. There was a wonderful quiche, a terrific salad, a huge ham which I skipped but it looked festive, and some amazing cranberry lemon bundt cake, all made by the people who run the place. A very generous and excellent spread; there was egg nog and wine, beer, sodas, and someone claimed they were giving the grumpy male resident some aquavit, which I find hard to believe, but it might have been so. What the hell; you're only ancient and on your way out for a while. The woman in hospice was there, and nodding in time to the music. My heart ached for her. Should she stay or should she go...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Approaching a grand finale

Lots of music this week, culminating in the big show on the weekend; the tech rehearsal went very well. The lucky clarinet reeds are holding up nicely.
Sunday, day of the Big Show: It's been pouring non-stop for hours, almost days; if people can overcome the despair of going out and getting into cars, it's a good way to spend an otherwise indescribably dreary afternoon.
The concert went well overall; more people were in attendance, and we were told we sounded great. Personally, I did pretty well except for a bit of near-squawking in one piece, which I attribute to an unexpected attack of "Elvis shakin'" on my mouth. Ah, well, we went, we played, we sounded good.
I will miss playing with the group the next couple of weeks, but will persevere in my personal practicing.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Moving along

Seems like we've had lots of music-related time lately, with daily practicing, rehearsals, and more to come before the next concert. A clarinet cohort and I had our own practice session, which was vey useful for mainly tuning purposes; it's very hard, if not impossible, to hear the section during whole band rehearsal and adjust accordingly. It is maybe the poor accoustics in our practice space, and not incipient deafness.
On a walk to get food, I went around part of the lake; along the way I saw numerous waterfowl, including a gorgeous Great Blue Heron, who was voguing on a partially submerged log. At first glance, his silhouette resembled a strangely shaped branch, but he moved, eventually, and revealed himself - or herself - and began grooming. Next along the path was what looked like a Cooper's Hawk, sitting on a bare branch and fluffed against the chilly air. The third wonderful sighting was an eagle perched on the highest treetop over on Duck Island. More delightful was the fact they were all still there upon my return home; fresh air and beautiful birds.