Busy weekend

Tootsies

Have you ever spent any time trying to write with your non-dominant hand? Your brain knows how to form the letters, but somehow it has trouble directing your hand to move in the direction you know it needs to go. That’s how I’m feeling right now because we got a new computer this weekend, and it’s a MacBook. It has a keyboard and a mouse and a screen, but everything else is different enough that I have that weird sensation of writing with my left hand. I’ll leave the particulars about the computer to J.P., as it’s really his story to tell. And he has accompanying photos!

Friday I got a haircut! Woohoo—aren’t you excited? It’s sad, but I was. You see, my hair had been driving me crazy! And I thought my appointment was this coming Friday, so I was prepared to deal with it for one more week. Good thing they left a reminder message on the machine, or I would’ve missed it.

In the afternoon, my freshly-cut hair and I went to the home of our neighbor’s daughter. Said daughter had a daughter two months ago, and I was to take pictures. It was my first session with someone I didn’t really know, so I was a little nervous. But despite spit-up and a little crankiness (on the baby’s part, not mine!), I think it went okay. The piggy pic above is my favorite one. (I know, Suzie, you’re really surprised about that.)

Yesterday was a flurry of rehearsing and cleaning and gift-shopping and painting and entertaining. We really should entertain more often, because it means the house gets cleaned. And boy did this house need it! It’s so nice to feel the clean kitchen floor underfoot. Not nice enough to do it more often, mind you, but nice nonetheless.

For dinner with our friends, J.P. grilled salmon and orange roughy, and we dined al fresco so we could enjoy the beautiful weather. Then it was inside for brownies and a rousing game of Uno with a six year-old.

Today I played at both the 8:00 and 9:30 services at church, and then we went to a baptism luncheon. I should’ve finished painting shutters this afternoon, but I decided to read for a while first. I got through a few chapters and realized a nap was in order. That was pretty much the rest of my afternoon, and it also explains why I’m still wide awake at 12:30.

Will I never learn?

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So glad we’re fuddy-duddies

Not from the Fourth of July

I’m sure you’ll be seeing pictures like this all over the blog world tomorrow. Good thing I had this one in reserve (from the Strawberry Festival back in June), because J.P. and I decided to forego (forgo?) the fireworks tonight.

I had to play in a concert at Longwood Gardens tonight, and didn’t finish until about 8:45. We considered going to some nearby fireworks, but we’d been gone since about 4:00 and Maggie hadn’t been fed or gone outside. Plus, I was starving and it’s a school night.

So we decided to come straight home. And boy, am I glad we did. Around 10:00 (prime fireworks time), I thought I heard something outside. So I muted the TV, and sure enough—it was raining like crazy. As I write this, the satellite dish is out because it’s storming, and the rain is coming down in buckets.

Thank God we weren’t racing for the car in a thunderstorm. Instead, we’re comfortable and dry at home. For once, being boring pays off!

By request

Maggie

This certainly isn’t the best picture of Maggie I’ve ever taken. But Kranki has been asking about her. And a certain pink-cloaked blogger has requested that I post something to push his photo down the page. Since I’m all about making people happy (okay, maybe not exactly), here’s a new post.

Ms. Maggie is doing well. I haven’t taken many pictures of her lately, but that could all change soon. I got my new 50mm lens in the mail today, AND I don’t have to go back to work until next Wednesday. Woohoo! A five-day weekend followed by a two-day week!

So what do I have planned for the long weekend? Let’s see . . . tomorrow night we’re seeing the new Superman movie in IMAX 3-D. J.P. is very excited. Me? I’m just along for the ride. On Saturday, we’re going to see the traveling Broadway production of The Lion King. Now that one I’m excited about!

Then the rest of my plans involve music. Our trio (flute/clarinet/piano) is playing a bunch of patriotic music at church on Sunday morning, and then on the evening of the Fourth, the community band is playing at Longwood Gardens. I’m hoping for nice weather on Tuesday so we can go early and I can take some pics. Because I’m sure there have been lots of changes since last year.

We’ve hit the big time

The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia

The Kimmel Center is the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And guess who played here today?!? Yep . . . I did! Well, I and the 79 other people who play in the community band.

It was the Summer Solstice concert, and it was crazy. (You know us craaaaaazy music people!) It was like a three-ring circus, with multiple acts going on simultaneously from 11:00 this morning straight through until 6:00 tomorrow morning.

On stage

We played on the main stage, and it was awesome. (Yes, I am in the picture, but most of my face is obstructed by a stand.) First of all, the place is beautiful. And the acoustics? Unbelievable. Trust me—it was a far cry from our last concert, where we played outside at a retirement home. Yep, today our audience was awake and attentive, and we didn’t have to worry about wind gusts blowing our music into the next county while we were trying to play.

After our part was finished, we hung out to see some of the other performances. I really wanted to see Pop G, which is the Philadelphia Orchestra’s percussion ensemble. We took our seats and watched the setup on stage. Just as the performance was about to start, the fire alarm went off. And you know, a fire alarm in a huge public building isn’t like an alarm at the office—you actually have to leave.

We left to get some dinner, and then decided that someone would appreciate it if we headed home.

Sunbather

I took one final pic on the way back to the car. It was a total spur-of-the-moment thing, and I didn’t even take any time to compose the shot. In fact, I was taking a sip of my soda as I snapped it. But I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. Now you can’t say I’ve never posted a picture of myself . . .

From the hip

Look who’s (not) talking

As you know, I’m a self-declared band geek. I played all through high school and college, and fifteen years after graduating from college, I still play my clarinet with a community band. And it’s fun!

The rehearsal site is about 20-25 minutes from home, and a few months ago another band member emailed me to see if I’d be interested in carpooling. He lives in a nearby retirement community, and he’s probably in his mid- to late-70’s. J.P. calls him my “band boyfriend.” We take turns driving, and the arrangement has worked out well . . . mostly.

Last week I picked him up, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries . . . how was your week, etc. And then? Nothing. We weren’t even on the highway when we ran out of things to talk about. I made a lame attempt at bringing up the weather, but that topic died after just a few sentences.

As I drove along, I wracked my brain for things to talk about. After a minute or so of this, I felt my body tensing up with the uncomfortable silence. Finally I realized that he had just as much responsibility to keep the conversation going as I did, and he didn’t seem to care. So why should I? But I do care!

I can only ask him about his clarinet so many times. He has two, by the way, and one of them was in the shop but is now fixed. And he once took all the keys off and had to figure out how to get them back on. And one time? He made a lamp from an old clarinet. Yeah, the clarinet topic has pretty much been exhausted.

Tonight I get to do it all over again. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Rockin’ Around

So are you tired of the Christmas songs on the radio yet? Now that it’s December, I enjoy listening to them. Well, some of them, anyway . . . . Here are my picks for great—and not so great—Christmas tunes.

Favorite traditional carol: O Holy Night – the words are classic, the tune is beautiful, and who can resist that final crescendo? “O night di-VIIIIIIINNNE . . . .”

Favorite “classical” song: For Unto Us a Child Is Born, from the Messiah. You don’t hear this one on the radio too often, but Amy Grant sings a song that includes part of it.

And the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And his name
Shall be called
Wonderful, Counselor
Almighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Favorite “radio” Christmas song: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. I’ve loved the drummer boy since we sang it in Sunday school (I can still see Mrs. P. pa-rum-pa-pum-pumming on her legs as she sang), and I love how these guys with such diverse musical backgrounds got together and recorded this song.

Favorite new arrangement: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings, by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. I heard it for the first time tonight and loved it right away. J.P. already bought the CD from iTunes—I can’t wait to hear the rest.

Christmas songs I would be happy never to hear again in my life: I guess there are only so many ways you can arrange the old standbys before you have to try and write something new. I don’t think any of these is new, but I do find them annoying.

  • Feliz Navidad
  • Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time
  • I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
  • We Need a Little Christmas

I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting right now. I might have to start moblogging so I can add titles as I hear them on the car radio.

So what’s on your Favorite list and your Not So Much list?

I’ve got the music in me

Would you believe I spent several hours tonight creating this music? Well okay, I didn’t exactly create this tune. But I did enter all these notes (and many, MANY more) into the computer so our brass quintet will have something to play at church on Christmas Eve.

Don’t you hate it when you only do something a couple times a year, and you have to get out the sandpaper to remove the rust from the part of your brain that knows how to do it? That’s what tonight was like. By the time I had the PrintMusic program figured out, I was practically finished. Only three more carols to go!

I was going to post the sound file for your listening pleasure, but it’s late and I’m tired and I don’t have the energy or inclination to figure out how to do it. Be glad, though. The music has a repeat—a section that should be played, and then repeated one time. But MediaPlayer doesn’t understand the ‘one time’ part and it plays the song over and over and over again.

Oh, come, let us adore Him INDEED.