a little something extra

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I can't believe I've never done this

It's my mother's birthday, and I've never in three years done a Five Fabulous Things About Kate post. Well, color me tardy in the extreme, and let's hold forth!

The real challenge for me will be paring it down to five. You, however, are under no such obligation. Please add your own Fabulous Things to the comments.

1. Kate drives her life based on love. She does the things she loves, with and for the people she loves, and expresses that love with a generous spirit. This makes a great example for people raised under that influence, which leads us to Fabulous Thing #2...

2. Kate is a fantastic parent, aunt and grandparent, not to mention daughter. She finds joy in the mundane pleasures of family life, and she is exactly the person you want around in a crisis. In recent memory, she has put her shoulder to the wheel for the care of sick or injured grandchildren, children, and presently her own mother, and for the support of extended family members who are caring for *their* family members during moments of crisis. Just call her the Countess of Sandwich (Generation).

3. Amongst those family ties, Kate keeps her knots loose. No matter how far away family members' lives and opportunities take them, Kate keeps up steady contact sans guilt.

4. Kate is creative, and committed to nurturing her artistic abilities, which are considerable. She's a pillar of her local community theatre circle, has forged national ties as a playwright, paints, draws, knits, crochets, and develops original beauty all around her life. Again with the great example for people raised under the influence.

5. Kate is never bored. This is probably directly related to the other four Fabulous Things, and numerous additional Fabulous Things that had to be eliminated from this numerically limited list. Kate lives her life with zest, and free of the unnecessary drama that folks sometimes create to fill up dull empty time. She knows how to have fun while working hard, and how to have fun while not working at all.

Viva Kate! Many happy returns!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Warning: Dangerous Timewaster Ahead!

Some benighted, bewitched, bothered and bewildered soul has put together the following:

The 50 Most Memorable Sesame Street Moments

Where else, I ask you, could you find video so tailor-made to glue my siblings -- and quite possibly my parents -- to their monitors, helpless with laughter?

Enjoy, y'all. And if you watch 'em, do list your favorites in the Comments here.


The big push is on! The new play festival my theater puts on annually has arrived once again.

I will be posting from the Land of Tired and Crazy for the next week or so.

Send good karma my way. :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008

a word from my nephew

I spent the night at Wright Manor yesterday, and while I arrived so late in the evening that the nephews were nestled all snug in their beds, I got to spend some quality time with both boys this morning. Thence springs this blog post.

If your life is anything like mine, you wake in the morning to some kind of alarm clock. Whether you have a buzzer, a beeper, an old-fashioned bell, or (my personal favorite) NPR, some exterior sound wakes you up at an appointed time. Probably well before you would naturally wake up.

So, for most of us, the first sound we make in the morning is a moan, groan, snarl or cuss word as we turn off the alarm.

Not so for Drew, my 18-month-old nephew, he of the limited but highly expressive vocabulary.

Drew wakes up in the morning and cries, "Yay!"

Sometimes, this is the first thing his parents hear in the morning, his little voice piping "Yay!" as he greets the day. Sometimes he is so overflowing with happiness to be awake, that he doubles the serving -- "Yayyay!!"

I think we can all take a page from Drew's book. (And if you've seen how Drew treats a book, you'll know that the pages would be easy to take.)

Try it for a few days. Say "Yay!" when you first wake up. I personally guarantee, it will not ruin your day.

YAY !!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Friday Five - Movin' On Up

A meme from Tripp the Anglobaptist...

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time?

I have moved from city to city, state to state, time zone to time zone, and/or country to country a total of 12 times. I have moved within cities another 11 times. So, the grand total is 23 household moves so far.

The most recent one was in July 2006, when I moved into an un-air-conditioned apartment during a triple-digit heat wave. This is probably poetic justice, when balanced against the time that I moved to Minneapolis at New Year's and it was 35 below when I arrived.

2. What do you love and hate about moving?

I love the fresh start. I hate cleaning the place I'm moving out of.

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?

Professionals came into the picture around move # 15. On an interstate move, I take my "survival kit" myself -- inflatable bed, basic kitchen equipment, alarm clock. etc. -- so that I can camp in my new home until the movers catch up with me. On a move within a city, I handle much of the kitchen transfer, artwork, plants, etc. but still hire pros to do the heavy lifting.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?

Plan plan plan. Make lists, then make lists of the lists that you've made. Keep a "move file" with notes on all the phone calls you've placed about mundanities like electrical service, changing the address for your newspaper delivery, etc. Never let the "move file" out of your sight until at least a week after the move is complete.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

we made it

Last night's concert went better than most of our rehearsals would have led one to expect. We premiered two pieces, one of whose composer (Michael Eglin) came up onstage after hearing his piece. I knew that the other composer (Zachary Wadsworth) is only 25 years old, but it turns out that Eglin is a young dude too! If he's over 35, I'll eat my hat.

Aha. It also turns out that Pacific Chorale's composition competition (say that ten times fast) was specifically a "Young Composers" competition. Somehow, that fact never made it into my brain.

Here's a review -- it's from the Orange County paper. Doesn't look like the L.A. Times covered us, since young Maestro Dudamel is performing with the Philharmonic this weekend. Worth noting -- Carver Cossey, the soloist who gets the lion's share of the reviewer's praise, deserves every bit of it. Carver is my friend, and directs the church choir I used to sing in before I moved up to Long Beach, but I believe I still hear him sing with an unbiased ear. He's just a stunner.

I thought I was going to have to miss the first rehearsal for our May concert, since I have an immovable work obligation on Monday night. But Monday night's rehearsal agenda has been revised to work on Daphnis et Chloe, which I bowed out of because of work conflicts with the performances. So, tomorrow night I still won't be there, but it won't matter. :-)

I expected to have to go to work today too, because it's the last day my current production will be in the rehearsal hall. They're off tomorrow, then Tuesday they start working onstage. Usually that last day involves a run-through, but the director decided to devote the day to scene work based on notes from yesterday's run-through. So, I decided not to go in today. After an intense meeting at the Church of What's Happenin' Now, I came home to do laundry, cook and lie low. I was in a terrible mood earlier today and I think its root causes were the usual matter/antimatter combination of not getting enough time alone, and feeling lonely because I'm with other people all the time but it doesn't feed my soul because it's a working context rather than a context in which my companion(s) choose to be with me for my own merits.

In other news, I scheduled a week of vacation in July! Cleverly timed to follow the three-day Independence Day weekend, it will mean I have a good-sized chunk o' discretionary time to play with.

In the comments, brainstorm with me some ideas for what I might do with that time! Keep it cheap if you can, since I'm working away at my goal of paying off the last of the backlog of debt that built up in the financial maelstrom of my move to CA a couple of years ago. I should be free and clear of all non-mortgage debt by the end of the year... but not if I take that luxury cruise through southern France that you're thinking about. :-)

Let the Cheap, Creative Vacation Fantasizing begin!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Frankly, Horatio Parker's music isn't hard enough to be this hard.

(Yes, I expect that didn't make much sense.)

We're less than a week away from the next Pacific Chorale performance, and true to form this year, we are not ready. I do not know what is up with us, our act seems persistently to refuse to get together.

Among the many (many, many, many) pieces on our program of music by American composers, we find Mr. Parker's Jam sol recedit.

It's not a difficult piece. So WHY will it not stay in my brain?

In every rehearsal, I open the piece and it's as if I've never seen it before. The pencil markings are all in my handwriting... how is that possible?

And there's so much else on the program that also refuses to settle firmly into place in my mental space...

Oy vey.


Extra caffeine helps. A LOT. :-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Senator Obama's speech on race

Here is a link to the prepared text.

I don't know how far he may have strayed from it in live delivery, but it's a Very. Worthy. Read.

(Two New York Times links in a row -- I swear, I'm not on retainer to the Grey Lady!)