meirwen_1988: (girlhawk)
Today was remarkably busy. I got up (overslept a bit, so I missed Mass), did tea and toast, then packed up the dogs and the brownies and headed out. I dropped the brownies off in West Winfield for the scholarship barbeque (the Winfield Masons and Eastern Star hand out $1000 scholarships at graduation; the number is based on how much we're able to clear on our two scholarship BBQs--last year we handed out 12). Then I gassed up the car and headed to Utica to take the boys for a walk on the 840 trail.

When I got there it seemed excessively warm for 10 in the morning, but the boys were eager, there are a number of places they can drink along the trail, so we headed out. All was well until, at one of the drinking spots, Jiro decided to chase a frog. Into the water. Which was rather deep. And the boys are on a coupler, so I made a dive and hauled him out so he wouldn't drag Ping in with him. I must say he was quite willing to come out--he was a bit surprised, but not unduly frightened.

So, we continued. Ping readily drank at multiple opportunities. Soaking wet boy, nada.*Sigh* But, I reasoned, he's wet, so not overheating. We got to the midway point, where there are a couple of closely placed stretches where the path is completely shaded at that hour of the day, we slowed down, Ping drank more, Jiro didn't. So I turned back around. At this point the boys were walking more in the grass than on the path (which I can't blame them for). We finally got to their favorite drinking spot, and Ping laid himself down in the mud and refused to move. Which meant, finally, Jiro decided to actually drink. Which was good. But Ping was covered in mud. Bad.

So, after letting him cool down, I picked him up (by the harness, which allowed for the next part), and dunked him up to the rib cage in the flowing water. He didn't seem to mind a bit! So, I held him there for a bit, with Jiro looking on nonplussed, then put in him the grass, in hopes that walking through the grass (as they had been doing) would finish the job the water started. Well, that worked--sort of.

We headed home, where I continued with the weekends housework adventures, then took advantage of the newly white bathroom to take a long, luxurious shower before heading off for Belltower #118, OES NYS rehearsal. When that was over, we spent about an hour setting up for Tuesday's DD Visit.

Home to puppies, finishing To Light a Candle, and catching up on this and that (including waiting for Duchezz to get home from War Practice.

And then I saw that Robin had died.

He'd been ill for awhile, and there is no sense of surprise, but there is a deep sadness. For Barbara, who has watched her sons die in reverse order of their births. For Lesley and Barry as they lose another younger sibling. Barry as he completely loses his writing partner, adversary, collaborator, little brother--a very different thing than their on-again, off-again estrangements.

I never enjoyed Robin's solo efforts, but then I don't enjoy Barry's. Their work together, though, was magic--whether writing of coal miners saying good-bye to loved ones while saying hello to death, or capturing the Alice in Wonderland veneer that painted over a deep despair in the 70's, or the humanity of a baby brother dead, children marrying, and marriages that stood the tests of fame and time.

The voices of huge swaths of my life are being stilled, one by one.

Randomie

Feb. 18th, 2011 05:40 pm
meirwen_1988: (Inquiring minds)
  • I find myself wondering whether there's a hill of beans difference between an iTunes download or a physical CD. If we're talking the difference between analog LP and digital download, hell yes! There's a quality difference. But do I really need to pay the extra cash to get an "excellent condition" CD or is the iTunes download, for $3 less, and burn a copy to CD to play in the car, good enough? Waffle. 
  • Ooooo! Waffles. Definitely want waffles. Too bad dinner will be leftover meatballs and couscous. That's not WAFFLES!!
  • -18 last Friday. 52 today. Yup--I live in Central New York.
  • I miss my friends.
  • The cold has, predictably, taken up residence in my chest. This makes me unhappy, in fact profoundly so. My current Dr. is the one I've had since I was 16 (his first year of private practice). For the most part, I'm really happy with him. But he's in Hamilton--not really convenient either for where I live or work. Need to get a Dr. in Utica, but I HATE THEM ALL, PRECIOUS. *grrrrr* If I had a Dr. in Utica I'd have called him/her today. I must resolve this issue. :-(
  • I have terrific friends.
  • Okay, need to stop typing. Hands hate me. Ta!
meirwen_1988: (happy dance)
We drove home in the snow tonight from Norwich after seeing page Grant in Les Miserables, the high school edition. It's most of the music, with big holes in the plot.

I was...apprehensive...geez, it's a show most professional touring companies can't pull off. I have to say it was truly good. Good sets, good production values (except the guy on the sound board--grrrr), better than high school acting in many of the parts.

And Javert, Marius, and Enjoiras (the latter appearing to be about twelve--okay, maybe fourteen--with a full double set of shiny braces) had positively stunning voices. Genuine baritone and tenors, strong tops, full middles, convincing bottoms. In the case of Javert and Marius there was genuine acting ability, and Enjoiras shows promise. Fantine and Eponine were rich and fluid, and could act. Mssr. and Mme. Thenardier were everything you could ask for, though his enunciation needed a bit of work--but the physical delivery was spot on--menacing and campy, usually at the same time. A neat trick. And Portia, my love, you have a doppleganger.

Valjean, I fear, has been getting good press through all of his high school years, and so tends to rely on his natural gifts (including an amazing range) and good looks (rock star), but that wasn't quite enough here. Nonetheless, in this production, surrounded by so much strength, Valjean coming across as a Deus machina wasn't altogether a problem.

The only genuine disappointment was Cosette, who was a pretty face, with a coloratura soprano range, but a reedy, unreliable voice. Oh, and she was rather wooden in her performance.

The male students at the barricade were full voiced, tuneful, and some were positively convincing. They were, some of them, EXACTLY the right age for the parts they were playing, and that made it all the more heartbreaking, and, strangely enough, believable. And Grant died valiantly.

We're very glad we went. I just can't help but wonder what they're putting in the water in Norwich to have all that talent in that little school.

BRAVO!
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Yup--day started with Bobbie Gentry, Glen Campbell, and the remaining Gibb brothers and is ending with a barbershop quartet and images of Shirley Jones and Robert Preston.

Spectacularly unproductive day, but got to spend time with dear friends, have dinner with Duchezz, cuddle pugs. The Bears sucked, but the Saints pulled it out. Duchezz laughed when I strutted out of the living room singing "Oh, When the Saints, go marching in..." as the coaches hit the field for the ritual handshake. Miami was really threatening there at the end.

Best game of the day, by far, was the Vikings/Steelers. Great D all around as far as I can tell. My criteria? How many times did Ben or Brett end up with grass in their mouths or on their butts? Plenty!! Yeah--that's football. :-) And T got a sack for the Knights, too!!! Good day.

Now it's to bed, and try to salvage tomorrow in the morning when I shall employ my mad coping skilz.

'Night.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
It will come as a shock to many that the last two nights saw me to bed before midnight, asleep before midnight. This is, to say the least, rare. The Boy would be/is stunned. But I am the better for it.

Unlike most weekends Duchezz is gone, when I move to the big bedroom where the dogs normally sleep, I moved their kennels into my room, which is warmer, especially with my little oil filled friend warming things. They seem to have slept well, too, perhaps because they were warm.

Today is grading, football, and then, with luck, meeting up with Den and Julie for dinner.

As I was watching CBS Sunday Morning today there was an ad for a new Rod Stewart CD--this one is soul standards, not torch standards. I find myself wondering what it is about his voice that makes it seem possible for him to engage in these "experiments" with some measure of success. He doesn't have a very good voice, but his forays (as opposed to Mr. Dylan's), usually have some measure of "listenability." Hmmmm.

On the same show there was a teaser for next week's show, which I am currently scheduled to miss. I am, on many levels, unhappy about that, based on the teaser, but, for now, I have the following comments: "Robin--please. It's okay to pretend you aren't bald, but it is not okay to pretend you aren't at the stage of having grey hair. And, for what it's worth, your hair was NEVER that dark. You can afford a good toupée --just get one, 'kay?

And boys, really. Rethink this. Unless what you want is for all of us to hurt as much as you do that Mo is gone, find a way to do the music without that huge gaping hole in the harmonies. Please. You know I love you. Just do it, 'kay?"

Alright. Time to make the red marks.
meirwen_1988: (mischief)
After playing this for the Duchezz her only comment was "If I wake up screaming in the night, it's your fault."
meirwen_1988: (Default)
So, for the last two weeks I've gotten progressively sicker. I'm now in that lovely state of bronchitis that we asthmatics so love, because the constricted airways aren't enough fun--must have more!

This means tired, coughing, and, well, not breathing. Now add...wait for it...

Yup---I had a performance!!!

My legato sucked. I couldn't phrase worth a damn. But the mezzo pianos !were!, and the fortissimos !were!, and all the bits in between, and pitch was mostly true. I may have coughed my lungs inside out after, but I'll take the praise tonight for what it was--'cause that was one of the most difficult physical feats I've ever pulled off.

So now I'll sip my shot of Rare Breed, and then go to bed. I am beat.

Hey, Lungs! You are NOT the boss of me!!
meirwen_1988: (tea comfort)
Years ago, actually decades ago--strange as that word feels when talking about my own life--I walked away from something. After living it day in, day out, from the time I was nine and picked up my first Tonette, or perhaps from the time at 4 when my parents bought me my first little wood and plastic piano, after hundreds of hard-to-come-by dollars spent on instruments, and lessons, and gasoline for the car, and gowns, tuition, and airline tickets, after competition medals, and programs lovingly put in a scrapbook, after panels, and juries, and auditions, I walked away from the life I thought I would live.

Nothing really drove me away. Whenever I'd audition (with one exception, which is a pretty good record) even if I didn't get the part I wanted, I'd get a part. Even if my voice was in flux (was I a mezzo, a spinto, a lyric, a dramatic?--the teachers couldn't decide, but they wanted me to keep singing, so it would settle "and then...!"), I'd get cast, or be given a solo. I kept getting requests to pick up my clarinet, or oboe, and play with some group. So there were no big disappointments, no "Ah ha!" moments that said "you don't have what it takes." No Simon to puncture my ego, no humiliating reviews I couldn't deal with. There just came a time when doing what needed to be the next step was something I couldn't do. I said it was because my parents were ill, and I needed to be close to them. Maybe that was why, maybe not. Whatever the impulse, reason, cause, excuse, the truth is that one day I calmly, sadly, irrevocably closed the door on that life and walked away. Whatever small echoes of it that enter my life now are like a child's version of a great novel. Bare outlines, in simple colors--beloved, but...neither as rich, nor satisfying as the original.

Still, every once in a while something happens and it is as though I am back in that life I left. A different kind of door opens, and I am invited to be "in" that world. Suddenly I can smell the dusty curtains on the stage, and feel myself surrounded by the people--vain, talented, bitchy, kind, laughing, cursing. I hear a violin bow twiddle on the strings, and a music stand scrape across the floor. I hear the conversations about "new music" versus "classics," that turn into arguments. I hear someone make a nasty crack about tenors, and hear a tuba player laugh. I feel the heat of the lights as the crew plays with them as we turn our scores to the right measure. And I am home.

This morning, on the way to work was one of those moments, I was invited in. We all were.

Listen. It is beauty. Don't you wish you were there?
meirwen_1988: (Strive)
So, I got full mobility back for a little while today, but 4 hours grading placement tests, then 3 hours in a meeting put an end to that, so I'm back where I was last night.

Tomorrow I'll force myself to take it easy and stay mostly horizontal with some brief forays into walking slowly and evenly. We'll see how that goes. One of the things I'd managed to mercifully blank out is how virtually impossible it is to draw a non-excruciating breath, or exercise any diaphram control to sing legato, let alone supported, when the back is trashed. Frack!

So, to totally change the subject:

Buy this. Really. I mean it.
meirwen_1988: (tired)
The name I have for this icon is "tired." I need to come up with one that I can label "sleepwalking" and one I can label "coma." Yeah. That'll happen.

So, I'm sleepwalking.
Flat out day, came home. In the 1.5 hours I had before we had to be at the Temple for District Deputy Visitation (remember the "A, You're Adorable" nightmare?) I had to walk the dogs, feed myself, make sandwiches for the DD (two loaves of bread, no waiting), answer student emails, grade if possible, rehearse one last time (thank you midi file), tart myself up for the night....
Duchezz came home about 45 minutes before we had to leave, fed herself, fed dogs, tarted herself up, and we were on our way.

Sometime[livejournal.com profile] msmemory and I will have to compare notes about "how to help our Sisters reach their full potential." Suffice it to say that it was a bit uneven. But it's done.
After helping clean up the Temple (we have a sit down sandwiches and cookies spread after the DD), we headed home. Arrived about 10:40. I came upstairs after putting away our share of the leftovers, changed, worked on my online class--tried is more like it--not really much accomplished. Now it's down to wash up, take meds, and then try to get into bed before midnight. I'm not optimistic.

(Damn music was a step or two too low, so now my voice feels like hamburger from trying to project to fill the hall. Just another service we provide. However, the DDGM, DGL, and most importantly, the women in the two Chapters [we do a combined DD] seemed happy with it. I'll call it a win and spend tomorrow sucking down tea with lemon and honey. Yes, there are some professionals reading this [yes you, Ms. Chicago Lyric Opera] who are probably saying "Honey, suck it up--it was 2 minutes of pop." Okay, that's fair. But if I didn't whine, I wouldn't have anything to saaaaaaaaay.)
meirwen_1988: (small but mighty)
I haz a code.

Really--the crud that stole my voice earlier in the week has now grabbed my sinuses and is wreaking havoc. Screwed up the vision in one eye because of pressure, excessive fluid...well, you get the idea. Right on time. Typical. Spring break started today. *Sigh*

On the other hand, the day was fine and clear, driving home the sun was shining, and I was listening to this. Loud. There's something about metal and a symphony orchestra that does a girl good. You can keep your Barry White, baby.

Then I came home and played with sticks and string for the sock swap.
meirwen_1988: (Duchess)
We went. We are home safe.

It was hard. A different hard than Harvest Raids.
Actually harder than Twelfth Night. In its own way, much harder.

[livejournal.com profile] drd_pyrat  made me cry, for all the right reasons, when she showed me the hood she's been making. She made sure I saw it in a "controled setting," and even brought a box of tissues. Morguhn won it for me in a raffle at the same event two years ago. He was so proud of himself. So sweet. It was a wonderful event, and a treasured memory, now commemorated in a beautiful piece of artistry.

[livejournal.com profile] blairya , [livejournal.com profile] wyz_azz , [livejournal.com profile] teresagabriela , and [livejournal.com profile] baronessekat were blessedly "there," and [livejournal.com profile] baronsteffan , [livejournal.com profile] chamfron , [livejournal.com profile] hora_somni , and [livejournal.com profile] apidae all made the day lighter. I waved at [livejournal.com profile] chez_mathilde , who seemed always to be in a class (go fig--you'd think it was a schola or something), [livejournal.com profile] 2bluefish made me smile, and I had long lovely chats with good friends. And I got warm loving hugs from T and his mom [livejournal.com profile] visrose . Duchezz's class went well, the pugs got a trip, and the drive both ways was uneventful. We had dinner at TGI Friday's just outside of Victor, and listened to good music on the way home, including my new Sharleen Spiteri CD, a buy inspired by an episode of The Graham Norton Show (okay, her outfit is totally horrid, and the story she tells is not behavior I generally endorse, but, in context, seems somehow...defensible).  However, it was her performance of "All the Times I Cried" which really made me drop the coin. The CD is wonderful, even endorsed by Duchezz, whose musical taste rarely coincides with mine. It helped.

I am wrung dry, and shaking with suppressed pain and tears. If this was this hard, next weekend will require some level of coping skills I'm not sure I have.

Heading to bed.

Heads up!!

Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:15 am
meirwen_1988: (Default)
For those who know her, the Duchezz turns 45 on Friday.

She will be at 7 Deadlies (I will not--I am in hopes of spending it with Heidi and the boys). If you see her there, and can afford it, give her daisies. She loves them, and sometimes gets a bit sad when I get flowers and she doesn't.

If you want to send her an email, and virtual posies instead, that would be awesome, but please embed the photos!! Her work email (which I will cheerfully give you if you contact me privately) does not link to the web.

She's been having her version of the week I had just a bit ago, so any love sent her way would be a real blessing.

Thanks, all.

And on a completely different note, literally, the Morning Edition piece on Felix Mendelssohn's 200th birthday was just the kind of gorgeous way to start the day. It reminded me of the thing I miss most about being a music major at SUNY Fredonia--being constantly surrounded by beautiful music.

Hoolie

Jan. 18th, 2009 07:22 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
So, the Halfway Hoolie was today (Great American Irish Festival party that marks the midpoint between last year's festival and the upcoming one). They announced the major lineup for the festival and the Grand Marshall for the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Volunteers got in for $10--all the food you can eat, all the beer (Smithwick's and Saranac Irish Red), wine, soda, coffee, and tea you can drink, The Blarney Rebel Band to warm-up, then one of the headliners for the main act. All in a room the size of your average Utica wedding reception hall. Got the image? Nice and small venue, very intimate, very personal. Last year it was The Prodigals. This year...

THE ELDERS!

It was wonderful. (And there was a television in the corner so those of us who cared about the game could keep track, if we were a little motivated to get over there. Nice.)

Morguhn loved the hoolie, and was really looking forward to this year's since we'd know more people this time around.

An indication of the kind of people running the show )

BTW--The Elders and Enter the Haggis are two of the headliners this year, along with Tannahill Weavers, The Fenians, Dublin City Ramblers, and Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones.

Now we're watching the Steelers and the Ravens try to smash each other into submission. Yummy.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
I can't wait until Saturday is over and I can perform this damn song and get the stupid lyrics out of my head.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Randomie

Mar. 2nd, 2008 12:54 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Walked yesterday and today making sure I was ready for the Heart Walk Saturday (my 4th, Duchezz's 6th). Anyone who wants to pledge for me (or Duchezz) let me know here and I'll put you on the appropriate list and then after the walk we'll figure out how you can send in your pledge (anything from $.50 up would be lovely). We want to do the 5K, but we're assuming the rest of the team will do the 3K. We'll see what happens.

Duke bought Duchezz new pants yesterday. Sort of important. She's a solid 16 now, so it was time for "not the baggy pants." Much better!

We went out to dinner to a lovely, small, family-owned and -operated restaurant in Frankfort, NY last night called The Brass Tack. Both typically Mohawk Valley (salad was iceberg lettuce, 2 grape tomatoes, 2 slices of cucumber) and much better than the average (while both Duchezz and I received plates with a cosmetic dusting of paprika, her's was a lovely sweet paprika that complimented the stuffed eggplant beautifully, and mine was dusted with a smoked paprika that was wonderful with the pork tenderloin au poivre). Greens had a bit more oil than I like, but the flavor was awesome. Duke and Duchezz got Rhode Island Calamari. I don't know how "Rhode Island" it was, but it was yummy (and I don't like calamari). Lightly breaded and fried, dressed with a bit of oil, garlic, and sweet and hot cherry peppers. Very nice. We'll go back there.

Today Duke made buckwheat waffles for breakfast, and we tweaked the strawberry sauce in Ellie Krieger's new cookbook, using mixed berries instead of straight strawberries. It was the yum! (http://www.amazon.com/Food-You-Crave-Luscious-Recipes/dp/1600850219/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204481131&sr=8-1). I highly recommend the book if you're looking for tasty, healthy recipes.

Great show on Ovation at the moment, but since most of the show is about Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, and Grace Bumbry, with only occasional comments from Robert McFerrin and Simon Estes, why is it called Aida's Brothers? Just curious.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Still having Independence day moments, probably because for a change I didn't watch Gettysburg, opting for Wimbeldon and the various RevWar pieces on the History Channel and Discovery. Then, just before bed, "Cool, Cool, Considerate Men" from 1776.

We talked Ro out of going out to her brother's, so we had a family day. Cinnamon rolls for b'fast, then an afternoon with Big John McClane. Die Hard movies are such fun, as long as you suspend anything you know about biomechanics and physics while you're watching. I gotta say, watching a sedan take out a helicopter was a blast. Rowan had never seen a Die Hard in the theatre, so she was surprised at how much laughing there was. How can you not laugh?? John M has some of the best one-liners ever written. It was a great, mindless, 2+ hours of hits, explosions, and bullets. G-Men should not attend (though I must say they came off looking better than Homeland Security did).

Then Walmart where Duchezz and Duke did Pennsic shopping, finally, home to sausages with peppers and onions, taters on the side.

Boy is home on his own today--I hope he doesn't do something dumb and get up on the roof. Home Depot people coming tonight to do a roof estimate. We've had good luck with their subcontractors before, so we're hopeful there won't be an eastern version of the Tonawanda experience.

Tomorrow we head for the Doma where I will not doubt feel useless and the Boy will feel useful. It's a tradeoff I can live with.

For now, frightened, eager little students come to my desk, ask me what they should do, and I'm cheerful and supportive, at least so far.

Mental music:
"...Maryland and Georgia? We agree, sir. North and South Carolina? So do we, sir! And that's how our country had its birthday, a day that everybody cel-eh-braayyts. When 13 or-ig-in-al co-lon-ies became The U-niiii-tehd Staayyts."

Bubbles

Jul. 3rd, 2007 08:12 am
meirwen_1988: (Default)
If you were an American female voice student in the 70's, you knew who "Bubbles" was. She wasn't some skinny Italian bitch with a big nose and a voice from heaven; she wasn't a solemn tank of a woman who made Verdi sound like the wrath of God and love like sublime agony. She wasn't some flat-faced Brit with trills that made birds weep with envy.

She was a NY girl with a hearty laugh, sparkling eyes, a decent figure, and champagne in her voice--when it wasn't good ole beer and hotdogs.

I heard her sing in person once. We went to a recital--I don't remember if it was Erie, Buffalo, or Toronto. She sang like an angel--voice dancing where it should dance, weeping where it should weep. She flashed us all with her bright smile, and even waved to the group of students in the balcony. At the end of the concert, when we were screaming for an encore, she came to the front of the stage, and motioned for us to sit down.

We did. Then, in a hoarse, rasping voice, so unlike the speaking voice we knew almost as well as the singing one, she told us she had severe laryngitis, and she hoped we would understand if she did not sing an encore for us. After a moment of stunned silence the house was on its feet, clapping and yelling "Get well soon, Bubbles!" "Feel better, Miss Sills!" "We love you!"

She flashed that smile one last time, bowed with an expression of gratitude, and swirled towards the wings with a wave of skirt to make the Merry Widow proud.

Some people would say she should have sung the encore, and left us unknowing she was ill. I found out later that she did what she did for the students--as an object lesson of what is possible, and necessary, for a real performer. And that's the lesson I took away, and my teachers always emphasized: a singer can sing with laryngitis--as long as your lungs are healthy, you can sing.

"Bubbles," Beverly Sills, died of lung cancer yesterday at 78.

My favorite soprano, whose best roles are the part the repetoire I enjoy least. She is my favorite the way tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are my favorite winter food; the way a plaid flannel shirt, sweats, and thick warm socks are my favorite thing to wear.

Tonight, I shall listen to Lehar, and think of the sparkling redhead from Brooklyn. In my mind I will watch a bright shining bubble rise on a pure glissando of soprano song.

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