Saturday, February 26, 2005

So it went a little something like this...

Although I didn't get a job, the audition wasn't so bad.

I played 3 out of 4 first-round requirements well but was sloppy on the Mendelssohn Scherzo. It was just one of those moments where you begin, and then realize you aren't quite focused. That particular excerpt is a work of delicate precision and speed, so there simply isn't room for a wandering attention.

Walking in to the audition was like a conservatory reunion. I knew more of the violists than I didn't, which in the end was a nice thing. I knew several of the folks who did advance, and was able to wish them well even in the dark dank recesses of myself.

Now, regrets? I have been in an ugly funk since I got on the plane in Portland. While I don't believe in navigating life by feelings and inclinations, I have not felt such an urge to move back west since my second year in Japan. (Carole can testify to those phone calls...)

If I had a job out there, would I then feel I could relax about finding that crucial "in" for a career? Would it be okay to start on my career as a mom? What kind of job do I really want? Today in the produce department I was working myself into a patented Miriam-freak and J finally said, "you know you can just use my money to give big recitals or start a festival or whatever you want". And you know, it was an epiphany. He's said as much before, but this time I decided it might be true. Sort of like a kid playing lava-in-the-living room, I had myself all worked up over imaginary dangers when all I need to do is step off the sofa.

I wonder who won...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Today's photo

Little footprints in the snow...



...from where do they come? To where do they go?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I'm off to (not see because they're behind the screen) the wizards...

I've laundered every piece of cloth in the house, had the dog groomed and shaved my legs. I'm ready.

This has been so good for me- both my playing and my performance technique have gotten tighter (in the good way) over the last month. It will be nice for it to be done, though.

My parents are so sweet- they're driving an hour up to pick me up from the airport, take me out to dinner and then dropping me at the hotel which is only 6 blocks from the audition venue.

I hope to post while I'm out there because our bible study has been really interesting. We've been talking about exactly how Christians choose which verses are literal and which are contextual/ allegorical. Researching Mormonism has really given me a drive to define my own basis for my faith more concretely.

So... I'm off. More on that later, when I'm allowed to think of anything but my instrument.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Filet O' Fu


1 (19-ounce) block firm tofu
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Few dashes of hot pepper sauce
Canola oil to cover skillet by 1/8-inch
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Slice the block of tofu into 4 equal portions. Place the slices on paper towels and fold the towels over in both directions to cover the tofu. Place a baking sheet on top of the tofu and weigh it down with a 28-ounce can of tomatoes for 1 hour.
Combine the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce and place the tofu into the marinade. Marinate for 15 minutes on each side.

Place the flour into a shallow dish and the eggs into another. Lightly beat the eggs.

Heat the canola oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.

Remove tofu from marinade and drain on paper towels to remove any excess marinade.

Lightly dredge the tofu in the flour, knocking off any excess flour and slide into the eggs until completely, but thinly, coated on both sides.

Slide tofu gently into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Flip the tofu using the tongs, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Aftermath is my favorite thing.

Why is it that the best thing in Flying Magazine is the column about what went wrong in crashes? I love reading it. It's like Tom Clancy come to life.

Learning to fly is item number 68,942 on my list of stuff I'd really like to do when I find myself with more free time. Jonathan took me to Oshkosh this year for the private pilot festival thingy. I expected it to be a long day of studiously feigned interest. Tons of folks fly in Alaska, but I guess I never gave it that much thought. I loved being flown, but wasn't much drawn to the actual flyer-ing.

Yippily wrong about Oshkosh! It was groovy. I can't wait to learn. There were all sorts of folk there. Not just older men with those sunglasses that clip on to your own prescription bottle bottoms and brightly colored fanny packs. At lunch we sat next to a couple of spunky ladies with sparkly pins and attitude to spare. There was more than one biker babe.

Lucky for me, unlike all my other interests, learning to fly is dirt cheap. Anything with "aviation" in the description is always reasonably priced. Lucky for me. Yep. Ye..ep..p.

I'm sure none of the attraction to flying has come from being proposed to while J flew us to Janesville... none at all...

But back to the aftermath. Really, am I completely morbid? I'm fascinated to learn that some pilot decided to push on through a storm or a bought of sleepiness and just didn't quite make it in. While I know most people are not thrilled with the idea of a flying death, I always figured at least it'd be quick.

{My new swear word? What in the name of flying death were you thinking?!}

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I even look skeptical when taking my OWN picture...


Self-portrait Wednesday. Posted by Hello

Chloe and the Margaret Atwood poem.


Here she is! Posted by Hello

I held little Chloe Delzer for an hour yesterday.
Softly scented little lump, she was so solid and warm.

YOU BEGIN ~ Margaret Atwood
You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, whis is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

He is a STUD!!

And he's a damned good lawyer. Of course they won, people.

{Today in court, it wasn't just his rakish good looks- that contributed, of course, but mostly it was his enormous brrraaaiiiin. }






Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The list.

It's a really smart audition excerpt list. That was my first inroads to making myself comfortable in this experience. Like Sally says, they will know everything about your playing once they hear all of it.

The Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn require control, finesse and style. The Strauss displays character and the ability to quickly switch from one mode of expression to another. The Shostakovich is really high and combined with the Berlioz and Brahms covers all different timbres and shades of sound. The Bartok is fun, and it's really short. I guess they want to know if you can play funny little rhythms and be expressive in that one.

I just got an e-mail with 44 other folks copied on it from the symphony regarding the audition. I know about 5 of them, all students of my previous teacher from Peabody and Aspen. I can honestly say I hope they all play well. To be able to play and feel I've done what I could... to feel my audition represented my ability... that would be an accomplishment.

I. Solo
1. 1st movement of Bartok, Hindemith (Der Schwanendreher), or Walton
(no more than 5 minutes)
2. Bach Suite No. 2 in D minor BWV 1008 - Prelude

II. Orchestral Repertoire
Bartok
* Miraculous Mandarin 7 measures after 6 to 8

Beethoven Sym. No. 3 – mvt. 3 Beginning through measure 166 (2nd ending) w/repeat

Berlioz Roman Carnival 3 measures after 1 with C# pick up through 8 measures after 3

Brahms Sym. No. 2 – mvt. 1 20 measures before G (measure 204) through 1 measure after G (measure 224)
Sym. No. 2 – mvt. 4 G (measure 155) through I (measure 206)

Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream – Scherzo Beginning (measure 17) through D
E (measure 115) through 15 measures after I (measure 220)

Mozart Sym. No. 35 – mvt.1 9 measures after A (measure 41) through B (measure 66)
Sym. No. 35 – mvt. 4 10 measures after D (measure 134) to E (measure 182)

Shostakovich* Sym. No. 5 – mvt. 1 15 to 17

Strauss Don Quixote 6 measures after 1 sehr ruhig through 2 measures before 4
1 measure before 6 to 5 measures before 13
4 measures before 59 (Var. 8) through 5 measures after 62 (tempo I)
69 through 4 measures after 71

III. Sight Reading
Sight Reading of orchestral literature not listed above may be requested
*Only Bartok and Shostakovich excerpts available upon request

The poem I'll read after my lesson today

The Strange Music


Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack,
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon my back,
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret,
Still, my hope is all before me; for I cannot play it yet.

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e'er let fall,
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all;
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame,
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow's name.

Not as mine, my soul's annointed, not as mine the rude and light
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight;
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar,
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are.

But on this, God's harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once,
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce.
But I will not fear to match them - no by God, I will not fear,
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

just for the valley-allen-tinesy record

The Tuscany Grill is one heck of a restaurant. The tilapia was sooooo yummy and the tomato sauce on top tasted like... Spain. Real olives. Little, black & soft.

It was a warm and lovely relaxing meal. Neither of us ate half our food, we just enjoyed the whole thing so much that it felt like a holiday.

We talked about a guy on the radio who said he and his wifey boycott V-day and instead do flowers and stuff through the year. Why not both? Having a date (and february needs the help) just reminds us all not to schedule over that little bit of indulgence.

Yesterday. It won our approval!

Friday, February 11, 2005

MANAL has appeared!!

Oooooh, ohohohohoh! It's all been worth it- okay, okay, not that a blog is all that difficult. But she has appeared and commented on our site!

Does she know her painting of the woman in red walking past the box people in Columbia is hanging over our stairs? Does she know her new years dragon lady postcard is framed in the living room? I miss her!

Manal my loveliest of friends, please do get in touch. And thank you, thank you for the wedding present! We couldn't figure out your return address what with our reduced brain capacities...

miriamenglish@hotmail.com


PS- for all a' youse that don't know, she wrote this:

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mood enhancer...

Here's how I felt today:


Here's what I did about it:


It turned out fairly non-junior high looking.

I left the underneath darker red. The day improved slightly.

I mean, at least it didn't turn out like this:

Monday, February 07, 2005


Who are you? Posted by Hello
This is one of my favoritest Jonathan-shots. Can you tell how totally, "What are you doing, honey" I was?

We are sitting here together at home tonight on our own little laptops, the nuclear family of the future. One computer per person plus one purebred dog to be shared amongst the heads of the household.

On the TV mr. spock (from back in the day, not those new-fangled episodes) has just agonizered some errant crew member. If only orchestras came with one of those. I would have used it on one of the violists today, and I think I usually aim for friendliness. She's a nut, so I try to be nice, but holy cow! She's not even the principal but felt comfortable yelling stuff out in rehearsal.

Now that I'm elderly and mature and stuff, I realize that she looks dumber than those receiving her rebuke, but still. I wanted to give her the smack-down. She's lucky I was holding that new viola and it's not mine yet...

I'm tough- see the grafitti!

Rainer Maria Rilke's "Imaginary Career"

IMAGINARY CAREER
At first a childhood, limitless and free
of any goals. Ah sweet unconsciousness.
Then sudden terror, schoolrooms, slavery,
the plunge into temptation and deep loss.

Defiance. The child bent becomes the bender,
inflicts on others what he once went through.
Loved, feared, rescuer, wrestler, victor,
he takes his vengeance, blow by blow.

And now in vast, cold, empty space, alone.
Yet hidden deep within the grown-up heart,
a longing for the first world, the ancient one…


Then, from His place of ambush, God leapt out.

********************************************************
Re-reading this poem, that middle stanza's no fun. But that 'longing for the first world' is so true... I would learn German, just for Rilke.

I'm working on my imaginary career now... yesterday I felt that things finally started coming together for this audition. I have a chance to play well, and enjoy it.

Someday I'll have to have the right words ready to help students prepare for things like this. Thank goodness for my smart wonderful friends (you can see what they said to me at spillingcircle.blogspot.com) and my husband who listens well whether I'm playing or talking.

Even Simon's been sitting in my light-blue ebay chairs facing me with his eyes open while I play. Sure, he's snoring at the same time, but I just take that as friendly support, like humming along.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Best danged truffle recipe this side of the Mississippi...

The confection that made our
wedding worth dressing up for.

The truffles are:
1. one package oreos processed in a food processor until they are sandy in texture.

2. one square package cream cheese added to the oreos and mixed until it's smooth and thick like a heavy dough ( a mixer works best with a dough hook, but you could also do it by hand )

3. Chill this mix slightly for easier handling in the next step.
Take the big lump of dough and begin rolling about a tablespoon of it into little balls. Your hands will get gooey, but if you keep it chilled and wash your hands every once in a while it's not too bad. Stick the balls in the fridge for a while or the freezer briefly.

4. Melt some chocolate candy discs in the microwave until just smooth. (You can get them at Hobby Lobby in the bridal section if you want white- sometimes they're 50% off!)

5. Drop the chilled balls into the chocolate and take them back out with a spoon. I used a salad tong-thingy to take them off the spoon, tap off the extra and set them on waxed paper. If you put them back in the fridge or freezer, they harden quickly. I had mine in waxed-paper layers in gladware boxes in the freezer for a month before the wedding. That way, you can make them way ahead and not have to worry about them.
Optional: To make them look fancier you can drip another color of chocolate over them in stripes. That helps even out any irregularities that come from making them by hand and you can use your wedding colors- craft stores have chocolate in almost any color or you can use food coloring in the white kind.
You can also get different flavors of oreos- I've made them in mint and put a little bit of crushed peppermint disks on top. You just dip the finished chocolate-covered truffle in a little bit of melted chocolate and then dip them in the peppermints. You could use that method to put colored sugar or any kind of sprinkles on them. You can add cinnamon or other flavors to the chocolate, too.

Go wild!
Truffles!!