Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flowers and Candy

It's Mid-Year!!! Golly. I have been so slacking off lately, I don't know what the trouble has been. And now here it is my daughter's due date--I'm going to be a grandmother at any moment!!!! [UPDATE at 2:12pm: BABY IS ACTUALLY ON THE WAY!!! ON HIS DUE DATE!!! WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED????]

So here are some flowers. I've been buying flowers like a maniac ever since we had the baby shower. It was so nice to have them all over the house, though I have discovered I really don't like flower arranging much. I went on Amazon today and bought a new pair of flower shears; maybe that will help. I have sort of developed a procedure wherein I keep whatever is in the vase that doesn't look dead and put that into a new vase with new flowers added. This week I added pink spray roses to what was there before, mostly chrysanthemums and alstromeria. (The alstromeria is I think almost gone, but it still looks nice. Almost like orchids.) So it's kind of a motley bouquet at this moment!!! And the roses are a bit :-| because I got too tired to rearrange the flowers yesterday and let them just sit in water in their cellophane thingy. Martha Stewart I'm not.

And I never did post my Proof of Goal Attained picture for "Goal 37 - Get tugboat picture framed." Here it is:

I absolutely adore tugboats, of which there are thousands around here. I hope so much to get to ride on one sometime, though I understand they are rather loud, being almost all engine. My Buddhist therapist once told me that I probably like them so much because they are Bodhisattvas, sort of. They help people get going on their journeys. Okay...I thought I liked them because they are so cute. (I realize you can't see the tugboats very well in this photo, but believe me, they're there.)

This is an etching that I bought on eBay. The title is "East River Basin New York," but the signature I can hardly make out. It looks like "CurtSgakasoy." ?? It's an awfully nice etching. Doesn't have a date, but I believe the eBay listing said it was somewhere around the turn of the century. (1900 or so)

As for the candy: I was just watching a Facebook link of Jon Stewart interviewing Oliver Sacks on The Daily Show, and it's all about the effect of music on the brain. Sacks's favorite composer is Bach (mine too!!!), and the clip shows a scan of his brain while he's listening to some Bach. It's so cool: it lights up orange. And Beethoven leaves him kind of cold. But anyway, Jon Stewart asks him, "Is Bach candy?" Sacks says, "Yes," and I would have to agree. Here is my proof. You're welcome.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Bad (And Poem of the Month)

Oh yes...as POD deemed fit to comment recently: "I seem to recall you writing this blog about goals. I better go back and see if slacking off blogging is one of those goals."

It's so true. Except I had a good excuse--it's the end of the season and I had a lot of singing and catching up to do. AND I had to suddenly produce a lot of documentation in the broken hand lawsuit. I am just so tired.

But I have to say also that I am having a terrible time with a couple of my goals, namely, Goal 74 - Listen to a CD every week and Goal 82 - eat at dining table at least once a week. Though we did have dinner at the table last week (see above), I made pepper chicken with crushed red pepper instead of green chilies because I didn't have any chilies and it was WAY TOO HOT. So it wasn't a big success.

I've been thinking if I buy flowers for the table, that will make us want to eat at the table so we can enjoy the flowers. I just have to come up with some better menus.

But the CD thing: I just can't hack it. I have to come up with a replacement goal. I DON'T WANT to have to listen to a CD every week. You have no idea how hard it is. I just want my ears to be left alone... Please don't judge me too harshly. I have an audio-intensive career.

As compensation I'm posting a link to an audio clip of a concert I just did. It's the hardest tonal work ever written for choir. This piece is toward the end of a larger piece, about 25 minutes long, and we were exhausted by the time we got to this last one, so the blend is a little off. You'll hear that it's for two competing choirs. Mine is the first one you hear (in stereo, it's the one to the left). Sometimes we sing together, but mostly it's a dialog. (The high E at the end: that's mostly me.) (BTW each choir has only 8 singers in it--2 on a part. I tend to dominate the sound of my 2 voice section, but that's because I'm really tired, and it's hard to blend in when you're tired.)

The text is a poem by Paul Eluard written during World War II. The program notes say it was "smuggled to [the composer Francis Poulenc] under pseudonyms; Eluard stayed underground to avoid imprisonment for his support of the French resistance. Likewise, the musical score had to be smuggled out of France for the first performance, which took place in London, on March 25, 1945. Thus, the themes of death, war, oppression and liberty that fill the pages of the work have a deeply personal resonance, for both Eluard and Poulenc, as well as for all of Nazi- occupied France."

So not only is this my guilty compensation, it's the Poem of the Month (I especially like the part about the dog):

[PS It looks like a really long song, but the words go by FAST.]

VIII. Liberté [Liberty]

On my school notebooks
On my desk, on the trees
On the sand, on the snow
I write your name

On all the read pages
On all the empty pages
Stone, blood, paper or ash
I write your name

On the golden images
On the weapons of warriors
On the crown of kings
I write your name

On the jungle and the desert
On the nests, on the broom
On the echo of my childhood
I write your name

On the wonders of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons betrothed
I write your name

On all my blue rags
On the sun-molded pond
On the moon-enlivened lake
I write your name

On the fields, on the horizon
On the wings of birds
And on the mill of shadows
I write your name

On every burst of dawn
On the sea, on the boats
On the insane mountain
I write your name

On the foam of clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On the rain, thick and insipid
I write your name

On the shimmering shapes
On the colorful bells
On the physical truth
I write your name

On the alert pathways
On the wide-spread roads
On the overflowing places
I write your name

On the lamp that is lighted
On the lamp that is dimmed
On my reunited houses
I write your name

On the fruit cut in two
Of the mirror and of my room
On my bed, an empty shell
I write your name

On my dog, young and greedy
On his pricked-up ears
On his clumsy paw
I write your name

On the springboard of my door
On the familiar objects
On the wave of blessed fire
I write your name

On all harmonious flesh
On the face of my friends
On every out-stretched hand
I write your name

On the window-pane of surprises
On the careful lips
Well-above silence
I write your name

On my destroyed shelter
On my collapsed beacon
On the walls of my weariness
I write your name

On absence without want
On naked solitude
On the steps of death
I write your name

On regained health
On vanished risk
On hope free from memory
I write your name

And by the power of one word
I begin my life again
I am born to know you
To call you by name: Liberty!

Click to hear it (you might want to open another tab and click it so you can go back to the words):

The New York Virtuoso Singers sing "Figure Humaine" by Francis Poulenc (Movement 8)