Dec 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Here's to projects being completed, to family and friends, and to music!

Merry Christmas!

Oct 25, 2007

An affectionate heart

I. Rain, rain ...

I'd say "go away," but I think the ground over here could use it. That and the S. River appears to be flushing itself out - when I walked over the bridge yesterday, I saw a whole slew of flotsam, jetsam, and junk bobbing along out to sea. Good times.

Besides, with SoCal currently going up in flames, I will not knock rain. :/

II. I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this ...

Seriously - writing about operas? Going to operas? Looking at medieval chant and doing the sort of analysis that is old hat, thanks to Bible study? Gotta love it!

Gotta love it all, except ...

III. An affectionate heart

So I had the members of my class over for dinner yesterday. When we had finished up the salmon (mmm - the recipe worked, which is great, because I had neither teaspoon nor tablespoon measure and guesstimated all the spices), rice and asparagus, and were sitting around chatting, the kitten wandered by and hopped up into my lap. As is my tendency, I immediately started petting her. She snuggled up to one of her favorite places (her head on my shoulder, and then tucking itself beneath my chin), and went to sleep, purring.

Now, at that point, would you have put the kitty down on the floor?

Hm. I ask only because one of the guys there, from another country, remarked about how he didn't understand the American way of cooing over pets, and how he'd never seen anyone hold a cat that way. I good-naturedly asked if he could resist this adorable kitten; he agreed that she was cute, and we changed the subject - or I thought we did. Because then the kitten decided to roll over and loll backwards over my arm (she sometimes does that) and he said, again, how weird he thought it looked.

And then everyone at the table looked at me.

I immediately felt self-conscious, and put the kitten down, and threw a jingle ball for her to chase. Later on, when I was clearing the table, I asked my housemate whether she thought I fussed over the kitten too much. She smiled (she's nice) and said that I did tend to spoil her, and she could understand the guy's point of view, because "the PDA was a bit much."



OK. I will not pick up the cat to pet at the dinner table, in front of company, unless they're all vets, or something ...

... and I know sometimes I can be overly cuddly with pets ...

... but it's like this: I miss my cats at home - one especially was my particular friend all through high school. I have a picture of her sprawled across my AP Chem homework. I always fussed over her, because she would just sit on my lap and purr, regardless of how crappy a mood I was in, or how much I would grump at her.

There's this moment in Austen's "Persuasion," when the heroine, Anne, learns that a secondary character in the book, Captain Benwick, is going to marry another secondary character, Louisa. Some tsk over the relationship, since Benwick had been deeply in love with another woman who had died not a year ago. (Side note: throughout the book, I get the impression of Benwick as being a bit tone-deaf, socially; leaving aside his tendency to gush about poetry to complete strangers, he asks the brother of his dead fiancee to get his own (Benwick's) portrait in miniature (completed for the dead fiancee) "set" (i.e. framed) for the *new* fiancee. Not the best choice ...)

Anyway, after Anne learns about this, she muses: "She [Anne] was persuaded that any tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for him [Benwick], would have received the same compliment [his romantic attention]. He had an affectionate heart. He must love somebody."

So it goes.

The last hug I've had was from my dear friends, who visited from NYC over a month ago, for my birthday. (Thanks, guys!) ... And I can't really go about getting a hug from random strangers. So, if I want to cuddle a kitten, I will, with no reference to anyone so wholly unconnected with me - and *whenever* I please.


well, maybe not at the dinner table. :)

Oct 15, 2007

Truthiness is Beauty ...

I. Hzzzzbgh

That's the noise I make when I don't want to get out of bed. Yet here I am, ready to hop, skip and jump (by trolley and on foot) to the Urban Archives at Temple University. And then to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. And then to the Folklore Archive. And then to the library. And then to rehearsal. And then home.

Maybe I'll squeeze a sandwich and an apple in there somewhere. Who knows?

... it's going to be a busy week ...

II. Creeee-e-e-eak

That's the noise my bed makes, when I lay me down to sleep. I wish it wouldn't - it makes me feel like a walrus. But that's life, I guess, and as it is a perfectly comfy bed, I will grump at it no further.

III. Truthiness is Beauty ...

Beauty Truthiness - that is all / ye need know on heaven and earth, and all ye need to know.

Except this, of course: "Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into The New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann’s skull."

Oh, and this: "Fred Thompson. In my opinion “Law & Order” never sufficiently explained why the Manhattan D.A. had an accent like an Appalachian catfish wrestler."

And this: "I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong."

All this, and more, at the New York Times, where that prophet of Truthiness, Stephen Colbert, guest-wrote Maureen Dowd's column. Check it out here.

Sep 30, 2007

Happy Days ...

Part I: Because I got high / because I got high / because I got high.

No, not me, silly. One of my cats! I am attempting to train Elphaba in the path of the righteous - which leads to the scratching post, natch, not the sides of the chairs and couch. In order to do this, I liberally sprinkled said post with catnip.

She is much more affectionate when she is stoned out of her little kitty mind. So when you add drug use to her constant mewling to go outside (we haven't gotten her spayed yet, and she's totally in heat) - I think you have what's wrong with America, embodied right here in that gosh-durned feline! [/moral majority] Elphaba, Dr. Dobson waiting on line 2 ...

Part II: I should have been doing my transcription assignment ...

he thing is, Chopin's got some bad habits of crossing things out in his manuscripts. And writing without key signatures. Or time signatures. Or a sense of order ... well, I'm exaggerating a bit. The man was a genius, after all.

Here's his genius mug:
And here's what I drew, after an hour or two of wrangling with a sketch of one of his Nocturnes.

Yeah, his clothes are probably a bit out of date. Sue me.

Part III: Happy Days ...

So this past Tuesday was ... my birthday! Woo hoo! I actually had a lovely time, because I got to attend two little birthday get-togethers - one with fellow grad students (a friendly bunch) and one with two friends from Grand Rapids and a cake that felt like ten pounds of chocolate-y goodness. Add that to the surprise visit from L. and M. (hat tip to comments!) and then add some nice gifts and cards, and phone calls from friends, and you get a ridiculously happy (and a bit overwhelmed) yours truly. Good times, and happy days!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled transcription.

Sep 24, 2007

Why Do Friends Suddenly Appear?

Part I: If I were a rich man ...

OK - if I were a man of any sort, something would be seriously wrong, since I am in fact a woman. But the sentiment is the same. I'd buy all sorts of chickens, goats, and a big house for Golde, who would then be able to have a "proper double chin" and scream at the servants day and night -

- ack. You know you've held jobs as both an usher and a pit musician when you can sing random showtunes with verve, and aplomb, and for no other reason then that you feel like it. Oh, and your fellow library-goers give you dirty looks. Sorry!

This is my roundabout way of saying that my impending stipend disbursement looks more and more pretty with each and every day, as Schuler gelt is rapidly circling the drain. To the day-old bread rack!

Part II: Giant Carnivorous Plants

I've been thinking about what best to do with the small backyard my housemate and I have. I wonder which sorts of flowers would grow best, 1) in its soil, and 2) before winter sets in. Also, I wonder just how long it will take to divest the wall of its spectacular, choking growth of wild grape vine and ivy, all tangled together. Seriously - the bricks look like they have been colonized by some escapee from a '50s sci-fi allegory of the Cold War, in which ginormous man-eating plants zip down to Earth from outer space and take away the precious freedoms of America. Well, the freedoms, and the arms and legs of every man, woman, child, and adorable pet in America. Commie bastard plants!

That is my roundabout way of saying that I'm a bit nervous about beginning to hack away at the vines. And I might just get electrocuted, knowing my luck - the plants have twined around the telephone wires that run over the back alley.

Part III: Why Do Friends Suddenly Appear?

I'll tell you why: because they know how happy I am when they do! Saturday night, L. and M. came by train to attend a party (read: casual get-together) that my housemate and I organized. On Sunday morning, we had a nice breakfast, walked down to see the Liberty Bell and Franklin's grave, then went to Chinatown to have a nice lunch, and then went back to my place, where they took a rest and I really wanted to take a rest but read Beethoven instead.

And that is my perfectly straightforward way of saying: It was great to see you! Come again soon!

Sep 16, 2007

Quel vecchio maledivami ...

Part I: Il fait plus froid maintenant ...

Just yesterday morning, it was chilly and overcast. I was taken aback at walking outside - I almost needed a sweatshirt. When the sun came out, it became lovely ... but that moment seemed to have been a shot across the bow. Autumn is coming, and I can't do a thing about it!

But I wouldn't want to, since it's more often than not my favorite season.

Part II: Pretty pictures

For class last Wednesday, we students all looked at the Rouen Book of Hours, on reserve in the rare book library. I still can't believe I'm doing that for *class* ! V. enjoyable. Although I was wincing at a classmates enthusiastically planting a thumb in the middle of a delicate illumination as he turned the page. Eh. The book's lasted six hundred years - a bit more handling isn't going to hurt it. And nobody enjoys a shrilly "Be careful!" classmate.

Seeing all the miniatures reminded me of the artwork I adored in middle and high school. Often religious work (or, at least, heavy on the symbolism,) vivid colors, and lots of miniscule detail. I also had a habit of making marginalia myself. See below:

I think that I remember the pencil one from 8th grade, when I had a book on Michaelangelo *right there* on the desk. Sure, Ms. Ellis was talking about Athens - but why listen when doodling was possible?

And I think the other is from some English class. Don't remember when.

I'm going through a lot of papers right now - I crammed some folders full of old notes in order to get them all to Philly post-haste. So I want to keep a digital record of the doodles, before they go the way of the dodo.

Part III: Quel vecchio maledivami ...

Verdi himself says that the above line is the "foundation" for Rigoletto. It (the phrase) is the obsessive thought, sung aloud at different times during the opera, of the vengeful jester. ("That old man cursed me ...") And it wouldn't be a tragedy without said vengeance coming back to bite him in the ass, of course. I can't wait to go see the opera live! We are doing that for class. How awesome is school, really?

Of course, now I have to go read Verdi's crabbed handwriting for the rest of the afternoon. Ah, quel vecchio maledivami ... ;)

edited to add: "denument" - I love it!

Sep 9, 2007

A Spot of Tea

Part I: Churchy, churchy, church!

So church was interesting this morning. First Presbyterian; one pastor (female) who spoke like Captain Kirk ("Blessed ... be ... God ... ourRockandourRedeemer -"), and one pastor (male), who spoke with a slight twang and preached on Philemon. Philemon! I don't remember hearing a sermon on that puppy ... well ... ever! Amazing.

As for the church itself: it felt enclosed, even though it was quite large. The ushers handed out woven fans, vaguely heart-shaped; people fanned themselves vigorously. The organist played really well - the Dupre prelude was especially cool - and the sermon was well thought-out. More people than last week at Holy Trinity Rittenhouse, but less gold leaf.

I didn't feel that "at home" there, so I'll wander someplace else next week.

Part II: Weiner Dogs

There are so many dogs in this city - it's truly weird. You'd think that most would run along the lines of the brace of weiner dogs I saw scuttling over the sidewalk as I left church. And certainly there are many of the smaller sort: yappy terriers, plush pugs, cossetted spaniels and even the occasional Chihuahua. But I've also seen some immense beasts - a St. Bernard, a mastiff, huskies, and what looked (from a distance) to be an Irish wolfhound. (I didn't dare approach - the thing was the size of a horse.) How do people keep them exercised and/or entertained enough? How do they even feed them? It's hard enough for me to feed the stray cat and kittens in the backyard! ... *cough* ... more on that later.

Part III: A Spot of Tea

I'm drinking a nice cup of tea in a cafe across from Rittenhouse Square right now. (Sunday special - get a drink and you get a free pastry.) And my white blouse is, so far, unspotted. Three loud cheers, people. Three loud cheers.

I'll update on how classes go this week - tomorrow promises to be a busy day, with meetings, Source Studies, and choir!

Sep 5, 2007

Omnia Bloggia in Partes Tres Divisi Est

Um, yeah. So I figure that's a sufficiently pretentious trumpet blast upon which to cast off!! Wheee!!

Part I: Labor Day! Labor Day!

Dave - that one's for you. It refers to an absolutely hilarious "This American Life" that everyone needs to run and find, not walk and find, right now. I'll try to post a link to it ASAP. "Labor Day! Labor Day!" opens a verse of the patented Most Annoying Song in the World (tuba, opera singer, rap artist, and children's choir - mostly about holidays.) Other verses include: "Yom Kippur! Yom Kippur!"

What did I do for Labor Day? I walked around outside quite a bit - the weather was lovely - and fed some moldy bread to the pigeons in Rittenhouse Square. Then I ran into two friends from Grand Rapids, completely at random! (which is, of course, one of the best kinds of meetings ...) We will meet up for dinner sometime soon; I saw them off to IKEA and gave them a coupon to that lovely store which has not left my person since it came in the mail.

Part II: This Moment in Greatness Brought to You by Ralph Vaughan Wiggum

So I'm in a tizzy on Tuesday, excited about the first day of classes. I found an especially fun-looking film studies one to audit (Myth and the Movies), and I gave myself a careful half hour to walk to the Anthropology Museum and find the room. I walked through Polynesian cannibal accessories, admired Maori canoe pieces and cloaks, and took a hard right through the Hopi exhibit - only to find the auditorium firmly locked. "Huh," I said to myself.

After more wandering, I decided to forgo the first day of the audited class, and strolled over to Bennett Hall, in order to check out the location of my post-tonal theory class, pending that afternoon. (I sometimes like to scout out things ahead of time, so what happened Tues. morning doesn't happen in general.)

I peeped in at the Cinema Studies department, and asked an expansive prof with a heavy Italian accent "where the Myth and Movies course is ..." He replied: Oh, ees een ze Myoosam, but you mus' know that classes start tomorrow?"


Yep! The best part is, I got a week-long reprieve from the unforgivingly clinical Tone Row and its cronies. And I ran into someone I knew that afternoon at the Grad Student orientation - we walked to the gym and oohed and aahed at the climbing wall. Then I went and read a book about Britten.

Part III: All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go; a.k.a. This is Getting Ridiculous

This morning, I got up nicely on time, had a healthy breakfast, cooed over the stray kitten in the back yard (and by "yard" I mean "assembly of bricks, ivy, and bits and pieces of junk crammed into a space the size of a postage stamp), went to pick up a care package from the post office (thanks, Mom and Dad) and then I went and bought a red impatien and a vine clipping, and planted them both in one of those faux-pillar capital concrete containers on the front sidewalk. (The previous owners left it there for anyone's use. The container, not the sidewalk. You get my drift.) It looks pretty nice, if I say so myself; I hope it takes root.

So then I looked at my watch, yelped, ran into the shower, ran out, and made my way to the Van Pelt Library, for my seminar on The Writing of Music - taking place on this, the first day of classes ... right?


Nope! Apparently, it was canceled. Bad luck - for once, I hadn't checked my email in the last hour. But I was perfectly comfortable with asking strangers for directions on the fourth floor (they were all nice) and, finally, calling up the department when 2:05 swung around and nobody had yet appeared. They told me it was canceled - and now I'm here, writing to you!

Tonight, I will do a dark load of laundry, and then wear my favorite skirt again, for class tomorrow. Because - barring events straight out of Revelation - I will be going to class on Thursday, my first day.

Take care!