Sunday, July 31, 2005

Harmonica is....?

We've got Wisconsin Chamber dorkestra rehearsal tonight- it involves a harmonica player. Harmonicist? I can't say I'm excited about that part of it, but hey- we'll see. The program also includes two things I like, Verdi's Forza del Destino and Mendelssohn 4 first mvt.

All four normal violists are here, also might be interesting. I really like sitting with Janse, though- hey, if you're the praying or good-vibing type, she and her husband have gone through some grueling fertilization treatments (is there any other kind?). Funny, I totally expected them to be pregnant before us.

Yesterday's Bach Dancing and Dynamite chamber music concert was way cool. They played this complex/creepy/rockin' piece by Jolivet- The Mask of the Red Death, based on the Poe story. It had both harp and viola- and I love modern works for harp. Took a year of lessons, and if I'm ever rich with both free time and funds, I want one. They also did the Debussy Harp/Viola/Flute trio, but I have to say it was sort of just a straight-ahead performance of it. I wanted more viola.

Well, other than a freak run-in between my stupid stomach a glass of grape juice this morning, it has been a fabulous day. (Juice! It's good for you, so what is your deal, body?)

Hope the fab day continues that way right on through rehearsal.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Maybe they mean "mile high" literally?

Denver has fallen off the map of the US into the clutches of fascism.

Read this article.

Then if you're into it, read this book by Vicki Hearne , an animal behaviorist.

I found this little snippet about Hearne written by Elizabeth Hollander:
"In the late 80s Hearne took up the cause of the much-maligned American Staffordshire Terrier (or pit bull). These dogs, known to cognoscenti as being among the bravest, most loyal and reliable of breeds, have suffered from having been exploited as fighting dogs.

When Hearne became the owner of a pit bull, Belle, she found herself demonized along with the breed. She was already becoming an expert witness in dog-biting cases, and in 1987 she became associated with one particular cause célèbre, a dog named Bandit who was slated to be executed by the Canine Control Division of Stamford, Connecticut for having bitten a visitor. Bandit wasn’t a pit bull, but having been mistaken for one didn’t help his case. Hearne ended up with custody of Bandit, whom she trained and found unusually mannerly. Stamford relented and allowed Bandit to live, but would not permit him to appear in public unmuzzled.

Having saved the dog’s life and successfully challenged Connecticut Canine Control, Hearne wrote Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog (1991), which brought both her and her cause a lot of publicity – there was a even a documentary film, A Little Vicious (1992) made about the episode."

Does no one remember this happening with Dobermans and Shepherds when they were the meany du jour?
If it were Simon, I'd move. And picket and protest and be noisy. Maybe I will fit in in Portland.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


It was a sparkly concert- beautifully played and excitedly recieved.

It was Beethoven who wrote that Romanze, not Brahms- sorry to have confused. I bet there are some great Brahms things for violin, though- they get all the good stuff. We violists just shamelessly steal.

Also- they let her play 2 movements of the Tchaik (middle and last), not just one. That last movement has got to be one of my favorite concerto movements ever written. If you ever get a hankering for a good cd of that, Viktoria Mullova has the most incredible recordings (of that and anything else, IMHO). Suzanne likes her best, too.

Instead of bringing her flowers- which I thought she'd get lots of and also can be a pain to preserve if you go out after the concert, we wanted to find something less perishable. So I wandered on State street and happened upon Twee & Luliloo. Madisonites, you have to check this place out. It's a candy shop in the old tradition with little celophane bags to fill and ribbons to tie them with. Definitely the kind of stuff to be savored- and it was all really cool looking. Little candy fruits, gummy items, chocolate covered cookie dough, they had it ALL. This was the kind of indulgence that makes you slow down and enjoy each little item.

Well, better get getting. The Bach Dancing and Dynamite chamber music festival continues...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Suzanne's Tchaikovsky

So the notice, it's pretty late. But tonight's Concert on the Square will be my favorite for the summer.

My friend Suzanne's playing a movement of Tchaik, and also a Brahms romance. She's got a sweet, singing sound and amazing bow technique just perfect for that concerto. My only wish is that they were letting her play the whole thing.

So, after complaining to T and B earlier today about not connecting with the kidlet and whining about not feeling any movement- I keep feeling this little whirring sensation right about at the top of my pubic bone. Feels wierd. Like when you've forgotten that your cell phone is on vibrate in your purse and it starts moving.

I suppose it could be the garlic from last night's incredible Italian Summer Feast at Betsy's, but it feels more otherworldly than that. Speaking of the feast, when was the last time a friend of yours ground up corn to make a veggie tart crust? Or how about putting lots of yummy alcohol (vodka and kahlua, I believe) in a dessert so the pregnant folk can eat it and enjoy the flavor without fear? FRESH whipped cream with just a touch of sugar in it- perFECtion. Plus, we got to see Chloe the hair model baby for a second when we arrived- she is divine, I tell you.

Oh... was I going on and on about food? And strange functions deep within my biology? I told you I was a stereotype.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hello, I'm a stereotype.

I should just stop watching ER. I've always liked this show, since the days of living in Manhattan and meeting Flo and Raiha on Thursdays to paint our nails and order in. (Raiha taught me how to be a girly girl.) It's the first/only show I watched weekly.

But lately... it's that pregnant thing I think. I'm so fascinated and involved with these characters, I almost cried when one of them got crushed by a helicopter. I am outraged at the calous behavior of the playboy characters, and sympathize with the hardworking but misunderstood nurse.

It isn't quite the crying-at-an-AT&T-commercial pregnant stereotype, but it's a little too close for comfort.

We've been a little busy with the Bach Dancing and Dynamite festival going now and for the next two weeks. Picking up artists, schlepping stuff to the Farmer's Market, data entering, and then, oh yeah- actually going to the concerts. Hey Tiffany! Those Russian Tea Cake cookies we made got a review in the paper!! "And at last the crowd was rewarded with dessert as they left the opera house: a platter stacked with delicious Russian tea cakes." Here's the whole article.

So there's been that.

And the cars have needed work, so J's went in. Have you ever noticed that when you take something in- a car, the dog, your teeth- more and more seems to turn up that is in dire need of fixin'? Sooooo, after redoing the brakes for a million billion dollars, now we need new ball joints. We thought we'd wait, but then I had to go and snoop around on the internet and found out that if the joints fail so do the brakes. That just wouldn't be any good at all, what with J being my sugar daddy meal ticket day laborer and all.

We're getting ready to get the house ready to sell. Mental preparation is like 90% of the game, right? We're thinking of selling absolutely everything we're not attached to. Couch, table. Who knows, maybe the doorknobs. Definitely the ball joints.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It's pouring! Finally...
If I didn't have to go to work with the nonprofits today I would go for a run and jump in every single puddle. It hahs been WEEKS since a real rain.
I have a real post planned for later.

RAIN RAIN! Maybe it's because of that speedy black spider I hunted down and mercilessly squished yesterday. He had the audacity to set up house- webs and all- in the tissue box in my teaching room. He was darting out and in in a most frightening way. If they're the pretty kind, I take them outside. Beauty=life. Seems fair, no?

Do PETA freaks go for spiders, too? Gee, I hope so...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hey Punkin!

It's hot out today, as it has been for what must be seven years now, and I've been telling everybody that the temperature outside is matched by my own perceived age lately. Today I'm 87.

Strangely, I decided to make a pumpkin pie. It looks normal- I baked some of the filling seperately and that was good- hey, I *had* to test it because I put in condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. But what am I going to do with a whole pie? Anyone know if they freeze okay?

I went through tons of wonderful maternity clothes collected by my mom's cool neighbor and tried some on for J. He said they looked wierd, but that may have been due to the pillow I had strategically placed. I can't believe how big I will get, if the yardage of fabric is any indication.

Ready or not....

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Summer Music

Would you like a free bookmark with all Madison's Summer Classical Music Events?!?

Sorry, that just came out. We handed out thousands this morning at the Farmer's Market on the capitol square. It was actually pretty fun- lots of super cute kids, great weather and a docile crowd of folks. In fact, midwesterners are so polite, if they didn't want the bookmark but had caught my eye they almost always said, "No, but thanks." Some even explained they were not from Madison. One girl said, "no, but you look beautiful." Sweet, huh?

Hey- here's the link to the non-profits I'm working for. The concerts really are going to be excellent- it's nice to promote something you really like.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Churches and Weddings

Number of people in the portland area: 1.9 million
Number of people who go to church there: 60,000
Number of Evangelical Free churches (our current brand): 0

Actually, I find this strangely encouraging. I know there are some interesting places, good writers, accomplished thinkers. We'll find a community there, and maybe the challenge will further distill our beliefs. Maybe our friends will not all be from church. (no offense, friends from church)

Lenny's gettin' married tomorrow! Tonight is the rehearsal & dinner (one rehearsal I don't have to be in- just J in a TUX. Mmmmmnnn.) How awesome. I love Lenny- he's sweet and funny and Mary is such a great match. Lenny's one of those guys who if you smack his arm to say hello he yells, OW! and almost convinces you you've injured his formidable arm. I remember when I first wished they'd get married- the 4 of us went to a park near a lake (mosquitoes, anyone?) swinging on a tire swing. Mary gave him guff the whole entire time. We are also nauseating, and so enjoy immunity from the effects of a smited (smitten, I know) couple.

Anyway, bless them, love them, congratulate them. They're gettin' hitched!!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Just give me the details.

I wonder if at some point in the next 5 or 6 months I will develop maternal instincts. Or maybe by the time the critter is heading off to college those'll kick in and I'll be sad to see them go at least.

Tiffany saw a knee on her ultrasound. I dreamt last night of a little boy with a mop of dark hair and crumbs on his face, and was almost relieved that I cared for him.

It's like the whole moving thing.

If I had the specifics, details, a date or an address, a toe or an elbow or lip... Don't we ask those same things of God? A detail, specifics, proof. I definitely did, still do.

Deitrich von Bonhoeffer says about the life of a disciple of Christ:
He wants to follow, but feels obliged to insist on his own terms to the level of human understanding. The disciple places himself at the Master’s disposal, but at the same time retains the right to dictate his own terms. But then discipleship is no longer discipleship, but a program of our own to be arranged to suit ourselves, and to be judged in accordance with the standards of rational ethic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What Huw Said

That's the conductor. He spells it h-u-w instead of h-u-g-h, but still it's just such a brit name.

I could only remember one bad under-the-breath joke from tonight.

It's about the Tick Tack (German, so it's really pronounced "tic-toc") Polka.

He said:

Let's hope this one goes well, the tic-tac. Yes, it's a bit sticky, isn't it?
Well, let's see if we can't *nail* it.

Obviously, it's funnier when he does it. Then he told us a bit about the composer George Butterworth, whose stuff really isn't half bad. It sounds like Elgar/Vaughn-Williams/tinged with Ravel's classical stuff. Apparently the guy died at like 28 because he went off to war. He had just finished studying with Ravel in france and war broke out and he promptly enlisted. I think he would have been something.

So, Huw tried out one of the jokes he'll use on the audience tomorrow. It's even badder, so brace yourselves.
He says:
I think you might just like this so much you can't believe it's Butterworth.

I wonder if he's tried the syrup? Seems like there'd be some material there to work with, but what do I know, over there in the viola section...

Can I fit you in between 12 and 2?

Ooooh, I'm sleepy. I take back all that reaching new maturity level stuff- I feel like a little kid. Eat a big meal, need a big nap.

I wonder how I'll meet people like Betsy and Tiffany in Portland. I won't be in school, I don't know if we'll find a church with a group like blackhawk's worship teams, I'll be tired and cranky and obsessed with a baby. (Unlike the radiant, relaxed and role-model rocker, Betsy.) We talked a bit today about friends and how to maintain them, about those types of friends who don't seem to have much to give and how you choose which ones you will give more.

Sometimes I feel so stingy. I want friends because I'll get something from them, and not because I'll be giving to them. If they knew how self-centered and protective I am of my energy, I think they might not bother in the first place. How and when I add people to my days is determined by a sad little calculation of just how forgiving they might be if I get busy for a couple months and then need them to hang out a lot all of the sudden because I'm starved for attention.

People who I am sure are on my side already I love. I'm not an ogre (except occasionally now at night), but still... I don't think I'm an inherently generous person either.

This isn't a cry of self-deprecation; I've just noticed this stuff while chatting. Actually, I think a lot of people might live this way and maybe need to work on it especially in light of grace and all that.

My marriage is better and less put-upon when i've made time for those connections outside of it- when i don't require J to be all of the people I need at once. Yeah, I know- this stuff is in all those Getting Ready for Marriage books, but hey, better to get it late than never.

Remind me not to do that to him when we first move out there. I'll do my best not to be needy and big and entitled. Well, the "big" part will be partly out of my hands at 7 months, but you know what I mean.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Reaching 12

Becoming a parent is supposed to make you a better person, an amplified version of you. Or refined. Maybe refined is better.

Now that I'm pretty much feeling all better most of the time (unless I get... gasp... hungry) I think it's working magic on me already. Consider the following:

Last night we had our first rehearsal for Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concert on the Square Number Three. Now, I love this orchestra more than any other in a 30-mile radius. The conductor is a great guy, it's a small group (=my kind of repertoire) and we have played some very good concerts in the last 2 years. (God bless the incredible pianist Valentina Lisitsa.)

But (isn't there one of those in any job ever?) there are some characters. Two of them are in the four-member viola section. Sometimes they make rehearsals tense. My stand partner (wonderful gal) says, "if you play loud enough that they can hear you from two feet away, you'll get the LOOK." Unfortunately, this bugged me all year and I was dismayed to find myself getting sucked into it all.

Last night, however, was entirely different. I know I'm a short-timer. I've got more incredible things happening in my life than any human ever has experienced (come on, it's my first pregnancy- I still think I must have invented the process). And I just sat there and played and didn't let stuff get in, and it was the funnest rehearsal e-ver. The guest conductor is hilarious- he's always saying wacky stuff in his british accent under his breath. "This is rather like sprinkling glitter here, trumpets- nice and light, please. (We ended up a little more like shrapnel that time through, didn't we.)" Hard to imitate- I'll listen more carefully tonight and see if I can't illuminate better tomorrow.

Anyway, I think... yes... I think I might be growing up. In another year with careful attention I'll reach the maturity level of... oh... a 12-year-old.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Wh..? Hmmm?

Telling our beloveds about moving I sort of expected to feel sad. But as yet, I sort of feel not much. Maybe when we have an exact date or start boxing up the voluminous junk that makes up our lives...

I really don't want to fuzz through the coolest things in life. Somebody slap me.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Want a House? It has Tomatoes.

Due to recent developments, we are floating around in little clouds of wonder and anticipation. We are moving, sometime in the near future, to Portland!

It's sad to leave the people here. But we've got the city with a mountain right in the middle of it calling our names. Our plan is to rent or get a little condo-type thing right downtown for a little while, and pay off some student loans. Plus then maybe we can save up and get some land and build a cool place.

It has by no means sunk in yet. We'll be hiking! and fishing! and Nordstrom Racking! and living in a city with diversity, which recent conversations and life in Madison has brought me to be conscious of!

Right here in the Great Midwest, our garden is actually shaping up, no help from us. We've had almost two whole handfulls of raspberries (no smirking, mom), and there are little green cherry tomatoes shaping up as we speak...type.

Well, I can't seem to come up with much in the way of pithy tonight. Best to sign off, then. But wow! Things are changing- all of them at once.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Nothin' to see here...

...because they didn't do an ultrasound today. But they did use the doppler- baby's heart rate is 160, so by wives tales wisdom we should bust out the flowers and frills and pink stuff.

Today I saw the Physician's Assistant or something like that- she was cool, and she was a runner. She said "Giddy up" when I asked if I could lift things and run and stuff. She did say my round ligaments (gesturing to the crease where leg meets torso) might hurt some later on when I run, but that she's had mothers run through the 7th or 8th months. She also said no biking after the 4th month because of falls.

This morning Tiffany and I went for a run at the Arboretum and I got us lost in the buggy muddy trails of the nether regions of Abority. At the end of the doctor's appointment no fewer than FOUR people had to give me directions to where I should go to get to the lab, which was around one corner about 15 feet from where I started.

And here's the worst pregnancy-brain admission ever revealed on the internet. Gather round, it will now be revelated:
I forgot that yesterday was J's birthday.

Mom and Dad will be driven nuts by this fact because we talked about the blessed event for much of our trip. It was a running joke on the hike- I would ask him, "So, what do you want for your birthday?" and he'd say "I don't know" but without words- just sort of humming mmm-nn-mmm, like a little kid. Then five minutes later I'd go, "Hey, what do you want...". And so on and so forth.

Then Wednesday we woke up and what did I say to him? What?! "Honey, do you have to open and close the closet door so loud like that?" Except I said it three octaves higher than you just read it in your head, and whiny-er.

Then we went to lunch. "Gee, honey. Thanks for lunch."
Then we met for a photo shoot. "Here, I brought your stuff. And a Diet Coke."
Then he finally said, "I think we should go to a movie tonight. Can you imagine why I might want to go TONIGHT?"

And then my heart fell out on the floor, but no one really noticed because it's shrivelled and salty and black, like that one bad peanut in every jar.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The land of port. O ree gone.

Ooooh, it was so much decadence. We should live there.

We were plied with raspberries fresh on the bushes each morning in the sun, steaks the size of my head, barbeques. Birds woke us with their singing. (Is this sort of sounding like those ads for cruise ships? My parents could run a cruise ship.)

We hiked in to a cool old mining area called Opal Creek (Jawbone Flats- named because the miners wives had the gossiping bone) where insanely clear water cut a swath through stone and over little waterfalls and there were lots of great flat rocks for skipping.

Portland is neater than I had remembered. There are these little artsy districts and neighborhoods full of craftsman homes- all front porches, interior archways and big beamy rafters.

Here's my family posing kind of like Charlie's Angels.

And here's what the trees were like.

And finally... well, eat your heart out!