Gentility

For you ‘Softies and former ‘Softies, please read yesthattom‘s account of their modification request review boards. He makes it sound so much more genteel and ordered than our war meetings or even just plain ole bug scrubs.

Advertisements

Last weekend

Last Saturday was our 5th wedding anniversary and also my last concert of the season. Since I felt that I couldn’t miss a concert now that I’m President, I chose to sing on my Anniversary. So, the Sweetie took 2 gigs and made $ and we celebrated on Sunday instead. By “celebrated” I mean we spent a quiet day together and then went out for dinner. It’s trite, but we say “every day is our anniversary,” and while we’re not a terribly romantic couple, I would argue that we try very hard to appreciate each other and this bond we’ve formed (and continue to form) every day.

As for our concert, we sang French Baroque music, motets written for King Louis XIV because he didn’t have enough patience to sit through a full mass. As I am from French Huguenot stock, singing French Catholic music from the period when my ancestors were escaping said Catholicism was antithetical to my being. Well, maybe not, but it was tough because I was singing “Taille,” or Tenor, and so I was down in the basement the whole time. Also, we were singing at A=415, or ½ step flat from today’s standard, so at the lowest I had to sing [the equivalent of] a D flat below middle C. To round out the difficulty, we sang a French pronunciation of Latin, whereas the “normal” pronunciation is Italian. So, we sounded pretty goofy.

I was also one of two winners of the SCC’s annual “Inspiration Award;” members of the choir vote for other members who have inspired them throughout the year. Apparently, I’m inspiring. I’m also “funny” or so I hear over and over again. Anyway, I have a new plaque to hang.

I was ready to be done with singing for awhile. I need a break…but now I have a head cold, which is my body’s way of saying “stop it.” Concerts are always physically very tough on me. For those of you who don’t understand how physically taxing singing can be, try standing in dress shoes holding 2-3 pounds out in front of you at a 45 degree angle for 2 plus hours and get back to me. I won’t make you speak a language you don’t speak or breathe down to the tips of your toes for that whole time, cause well, that just seems unfair.

There is excitement in high art, really!

Lest you think that the world of classical music is completely without excitement usually only found on reality TV these days, I want to share the current Seattle Symphony drama.

The concertmaster (aka the head violinist) of the SSO was recently fired after 20 years, with allegations going back and forth in the press about why. In his time off, said concertmaster discovered the art of blogging, and apparently shared his thoughts about his former boss and interim replacement, but is now going to retract them.

This is when being part of a very small non-profit arts organization has its benefits. Although some would argue that no press is bad press.

Speaking of press, Fred Coleman, the SCC’s music director, will be interviewed on King FM tonight and Friday night to talk about our upcoming concert.

Bill Moyer’s Speech

This is a fantastic speech. It’s a long read, but there are also links to the video and audio of the piece of you prefer: http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/22021/.

Favorite quote:

The more compelling our journalism, the angrier the radical right of the Republican Party became. That’s because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth.

This is the point of my story: Ideologues don’t want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right. They embrace a world view that can’t be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary. They want your reporting to validate their belief system and when it doesn’t, God forbid.

RSS Readers

Hello friends…

Which RSS Reader do you use (if you use one)? I’ve tried a few, but none make me completely happy.

Also, is there a way to get an RSS feed of your friends page? If not, which readers can you use to login to LJ?

Thank you for your support.

Local Day

Some days I really love where I live. Not just the Puget Sound area in general, but my zip code. I tend to try and make Friday’s “local days,” because traffic increases in the area, and also because every other Friday our housekeeper comes and I like to get out of her way.

This past Friday, I went to Flower World to get some plants for the pond. Flower World is an amazing experience. Overwhelming, almost.

Then, I went to the Avalon Nursery and got some suggestions for improving my pond’s filter performance.

Finally I went to Albertson’s and picked up a few groceries.

This sounds really mundane, but I love this kind of day. I don’t have to travel far, and yet I got everything I needed. Plus, this time of year, to quite Mel Brooks in a History of the World, Part I, everything is so green. It was a lovely day, and I’m writing it down to remember it.

Cooking

I never used to enjoy cooking, per se. When I lived alone, I found it to be too much trouble for me. I preferred to go out, especially if it was a social occasion. However, I’ve always been fairly good at cooking, because I learned a lot from my mother over the years. I’ve never had any major disasters (although plenty of minor ones), and in general, I do well. Luckily, the Sweetie also cooks well, and I can hand off cooking duties to him when he’s in the mood.

Now that I’m home more, and our budget is smaller, I try to cook at home as much as I can. There are some issues with this. For instance, the Sweetie has some strong dietary likes and dislikes, mainly, he’s not adventurous with anything that he tried before he was about 30. Anything that was new to him after that point, he’s plenty adventurous with. For instance, he’ll eat sushi, but not Brussels sprouts. Also, I never really got any training in cooking, and I was always confused about somethings.

Enter Cook’s Illustrated. I started subscribing to this magazine late in 2002 after seeing it’s daughter TV show, America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. The way this organization does things really appeals to me on a lot of levels. First of all, it’s cooking for geeks. Not only do they try 20-40 recipes for everything they cook, they also explain why you need to do certain things, like, say, brine chicken/pork, use a traditional instead of a non-stick pan for certain things (and vice versa), use butter sometimes and oil other times, and other little tidbits like that. They also do exhaustive, Consumer Reports type testing on ingredients and tools.

So, now, most of my recipes come from Cooks Illustrated (the website, the magazine, or one of their cookbooks) because I know I can trust it. Last week was a particularly good one, I think…I made (these links may or may not work for you. If not, subscribe, at least to the website, it’s worth it if you cook):

My all time favorite recipe from these folks is Chicken Provencal. I never before knew how good something like this could be. Anyway, I highly recommend these folks. At the very least, check out the TV show.