Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Not such a quiet day!

Today was first Tuesday that I did not go to choir.  I was scheduled to do two fifth grade Museum Mornings at the South Bend Museum of Art but they were cancelled late last night. Suddenly the day was open and free.

Before I was retired, that would have pleased me immensely.  But today I was disappointed and couldn't seem to think of something that I wanted to do that would make it a good day.  Plus some allergies were bothering me and I did not feel full of energy.

So it is now 5:30 pm and soon Jim will be home for supper and I will have stories to tell him after all!

I was reading a great book (Snow Leopard) and found myself reading the same paragraph three times.  I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.   I was startled when the door bell rang. A very young man said he was from the sheriff's department.  He looked official enough but far too young.  He said there was a burglary on Weatherstone Court around the corner and asked if I had seen anything?  I had not but I had just walked that way two hours earlier and left my door unlocked. 

Around 4:45, I ventured out again, this time locking our front door.  There were several news organizations clustered on Weatherstone Court.  I stopped and gawked and so did another woman out walking her dogs.  I introduced myself and she did as well.  She said she often reports strangers in the neighborhood because she is a children's author working at home.

When I got home, I looked up her books.  Her name is Diane Bradley and she writes juvenile fiction set in Minnesota's past.  They looked like fun for me to read.  And I looked up the news online and yes, there was a home invasion interrupted by the home owner.  The two suspects may have been armed.  They fled on foot and have not been found yet. 

Maybe this day has been turned out more exciting than I had wanted.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Facing Reality

I am feeling sad because it's time to drop out of the Notre Dame Repertory Choir.  I cannot sing in the  April 19 performance because we are going to witness little Alex's baptism that weekend.  That may be just as well because the music is very challenging and I would  really hate to be the alto who sings the wrong rhythm or the wrong pitch or the wrong vowel sound. This is one excellent and demanding group.

The Britten piece has alto lines that go from a low E to a high g.  I lip-sync some phrases!  The Ralph-Vaughn Williams has an eight part chorus with soloists and if I am not able to be at the performance, the student conductor needs to know how to assign parts.  Carmen, the professor, told me not to sing loudly on my alto 2 part in chorus 2--and I said that I never dare sing loudly in this group! 

The joy of singing with the Repertory Choir has been the challenge of sight-reading and the fun of blending my ordinary choir voice with those who truly have beautiful solo voices.  But the sadness of singing is that sometimes the challenge is beyond my abilities and I don't want to hold anyone back. 

I'll  visit one more time before we leave for the east coast just to listen to how it all gets put together--and to bring a home-baked treat.  That seems to have been greatly appreciated.  In fact, one of the student conductors said that next year they may make it a requirement of any community member who auditions.

Another joy has been getting to know some of the students and attending their performances. I have felt a motherly pride in their MFA recitals and concerts.  I probably went to more events this year than ever before for that reason--and have been really blessed by the music I have heard. 

Buicks and Blogs

I chuckle every time I see this commercial.  An elderly woman who I hope  looks a few years older than I am is riding with a young man and learns that his Buick LaCrosse has wifi. 

"You mean I can update my blog from this car?" she asks.  "Whoaa." 

A bit later he responds in disbelief, "You have a blog?"

Yup, grandmas have blogs!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Cooking with the New York Times (and Raven)

I haven't blogged for over two weeks.   But this morning I told Jim that I "felt a blog coming on" as Jeff once put it. 

Raven, Dan's girlfriend (seems there should be a better word), has begun working in UX for the New York Times.  What is UX?    UX is User Experience and Raven will be on staff for at least a few months working on product development. . www.cookingnyt.com

I had been getting the NYT Cooking Newsletter for a few months.  Sometimes I am lazy and delete it, but sometimes I click on a recipe that looks interesting.  I have even saved a few recipes on their site, and have tried a Foolproof Apple Tartin which I did burn a bit but it was tasty.

Raven's new position has encouraged me to browse the site further.  We have texted and emailed back and forth several times as she has inquired why I click on some recipes and not others, how I save recipes, and what is the basis for my searches.  I have sent her photos of my old binder full of recipes, including some I've cut out from the NYT over the years. 

Being Raven's mid-Western consultant from Granger, Indiana has been great fun.

 But it has made me think about the transition to electronics here as in so many other areas of our lives.  I send some stamped cards or letters out, but far more frequently use email.  I print up some photos, but save far more on Shutterfly or GooglePhotos.   I use a recipe box and a notebook of recipes, but peruse many more on my laptop. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Good Things Happen in South Bend, too!

There  was so much to see and do in New York that coming back home to South Bend might have been a let down.  However, this weekend has been one of delight and learning--all centered around Mendelssohn's Elijah performed at Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center with Nathan Gunn in the role of Elijah.

We had been working on Elijah in Repertory Choir with students conducting under the demanding but kindly guidance of Professor Carmen Tellez.   So I had sung many of the choruses, some familiar (Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord, He Watching Over Israel), and some less so (He That Shall Endure to the End).  I probably could have sung in the performance but was not eager to spend the extra hours in rehearsal and wasn't sure I'd have the stamina to stand on stage at length.

Thursday evening Professor Jeffrey Sposato from the University of Houston spoke on Elijah and  Mendelssohn's "Jewishness."  Many years later the Nazis considered him to be a Jewish composer and rejected his works; however, his family converted to Lutheranism when he was seven years old. Sposato compared the events from Elijah's life chosen to correspond to events from Christ's life. The lecture was very interesting and made me more aware of the process of putting together such an oratorio.  After the lecture, Carmen Tellez and Nathan Gunn joined Sposato to answer questions about the work and their own interpretations.

This afternoon was the performance.  After looking forward to it for so long, I almost missed it by assuming the concert was at 7 pm.  I checked the tickets after church and the time was 2 pm!  I would have been heart-broken! 

The performance was spell-binding.  Nathan Gunn's voice is so powerful and expressive.  The young soloists that I know from the choir made me feel a great pride in their offerings--Josh as the counter-tenor angel, Sarah and Jamie as angels, Ben as Ahab.  Carmen was amazing--to have the energy and concentration to conduct for the better part of three hours--and to get such wonderful results from an amateur orchestra and chorus--even if many of them are very good musicians.

Good things happen in South Bend too!