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* Beautiful fabulous weather out there. Yeah. I've been out there pulling dandelions and weeds, and planting seeds, and brutally clipping back the nasty bushes I hate.

* We are making the effort to be more organized with our weekly menu planning (as in, actually doing so) and thus we're actually cooking every night (instead of making shit up at the last minute) and have uncovered some new recipes. This week I just dug in my recipe box for some new ideas and pulled out a whole stack. Tonight's was a fabulously yummy Shrimp and Chickpea Pasta, which we all loved. Yum.

* Elena has started playing a new game: she runs into our bedroom and gets up on the bed and pulls the blankets over her head. Then she pops out. Over and over. We call her name, or we poke her and say "What's this lump?" or we tickle her.... But the best part of it is the name - she calls it "going to Texas". Sometimes "I am going to Texas on vacation." (We're really not sure why.) This leads to many amusing conversations and statements, like "You may only go to Texas two more times, and then we need to put your pajamas on."

* For the locals: I am singing in a concert on Sunday, and you should come hear it. Very small chorus: there are only 10 of us altogether. Thompson Chapel, 2 p.m., Haydn's Missa Brevis de St. Johannis and a couple of fabulous dark and broody Bruckner motets. It should be gorgeous.

* I'm sure I had another bullet point, but I guess I'll have to save it for another day.
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Busy couple of days:

* My mother is visiting. We put her to work as relief staff a babysitter. That's been great.

* [livejournal.com profile] galagan and I went out to dinner by ourselves. Twice. Once to a place in town I'd never been to (excellent steak!) and tonight to a Colombian place in P____. Yummy times two.

* Chorus concerts, last night and this afternoon. Yay for singing, but I'm also glad they're done. We did a Dvorak Mass and the Brahms' Neue Liebeslieder. I think Brahms may be my favorite composer to sing EVAR.

* Elena has ramped down teh crazeh-ness just a bit while Grandma is here, so things feel relatively manageable. Or maybe that's the extra set of hands. :) She has taken naps several times. Yay.

* We had a birthday party, but 2 of the 4 guests were sick and couldn't come. So it was a very minimalist party. She still had a blast, and there were cupcakes. And we still have balloons to play with. Her actual birthday is Thursday. How'd she get so old?
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Last night I got to go to a chorus rehearsal!!! cut for nostalgia )

*******************

On an entirely different note: now that we're here, settled in, etc etc and so forth.... I've started vaguely looking around making job-like noises. First step was to contact the local equivalent of my old employer. I dithered for a few weeks - should I email? snail mail? try to make a personal contact? But the other night I decided that I should just send it in and let my experience and background speak for themselves. Fired it off (via email) on Sunday night. Monday morning, I had an email saying "Thanks so much; you have very relevant experience; we have nothing right now; we'll keep you in mind." ::nod:: That's pretty much exactly what I was expecting, so that's no problem. I just wanted to alert them to my existence in the local universe.

Well, today I got a phone call - they *do* have a position available. It's part-time, half here in town, and half about 30 minutes away. 4 afternoons a week. More patient contact than I've had previously, but all totally stuff I could *do*. And I have an interview tomorrow. Eeek! I'm excited (and totally not nervous, because I know this stuff with, like, both arms *and* a leg tied behind my back. I think). But what am I going to wear?
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Yesterday was the local Messiah singalong. We both went and it was wonderful - just great fun, and a good musical goodbye to Billings, since I expect we won't be singing here again. I even got to sit next to the woman I always stood next to for Symphony concerts, so that was really nice. Saw lots of people we know. It was very satisfying, but over much too soon.

Today I am stuck at home. A guy from the utility company is supposed to come inspect the furnace, "sometime between 8 and 5." Yeah, thanks guys. I know better than to hope he'll come early this morning. He'll probably show up at 4:30. :P
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So, today was our first opera chorus rehearsal. The opera is La Traviata. My favorite moment: "Does anyone know what La Traviata means?" (a few guesses are ventured) "...Basically, something like A Woman Who Has Gone Astray". The other director pipes up, "Or in other words: Dead Soprano."

We were also promised gorgeous costumes - instead of being the usual crowd o' peasants in this one, we are *partygoers*, and thus will have big poofy floofy beautiful gowns. Yay!

It's nice to be back in this world. I haven't done a show in 2 years, for various reasons.
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the whining commences )
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--I have not actually done my laundry, though I need to.

--My "Christmas" cactus is in bloom. It's apparently on an 11-month cycle. For a few years it actually bloomed at Christmas, and then for several years did so at Thanksgiving. This year it was well on its way by Hallowe'en, and has currently achieved full blossom (hell, it's November 9th!). But my dad has one that blooms at Christmas *and* Easter every year. Hmmmm.

--The Electric Baby rolled all the way over yesterday. No fooling. Instead of a little subtle poke from a wee foot, this was a definite roll that started on one side of my belly, and went halfway across. Very funky.

--Our chorus is doing an a cappella Christmas concert this year. When I first found this out, I moaned and groaned, but we are actually doing really cool music (mostly) with only a few duds. Included are many old school favorites, such as "O magnum mysterium", "Bogoroditse Devo" (which almost makes me cry every time we sing it), and Britten's "Hymn to the Virgin". If you don't know this piece, it's based on a 13th-century tune - the chorus sings in English, and then a quartet gets to sing a Latin responsorial. And... tada! I get to sing in the quartet! With [livejournal.com profile] galagan on the tenor part, which makes it even cooler. It's the bestest piece ever though:

text )

(And he was only 16 or 17 when he wrote it, from what I just found. Man.)

--I had an OB appointment this morning. Amazingly, I have only gained 2 pounds total over my pre-pregnancy weight, but they didn't seem too overly concerned about that. (How is that possible, when *none* of my pants or skirts fit, and I'm showing and everything?) My belly measures right where it should though (from the pubic bone to the top of the fundus), so I guess that's all right. Next time I have to get a shot *groan* and fun stuff like that. But she did say we'll repeat my ultrasound at 30 or 32 weeks, so that's happy news!!! (I'm now 24 weeks - a full 5 months through this process!)

--I have an email address of someone at NOAA to contact about my lightning strike experience. Let's hope I can tell him something helpful!
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Oh! Yes! I almost forgot!

I had such a blissful evening last night, and plan to continue that tonight and tomorrow. I watched the first two hours of PBS' 6-hour Broadway documentary. The first two hours covered the early years - up to about 1929, so it was fascinating, because I know so little about that period. Minstrel shows and blackface perfomers, the Ziegfeld Follies, the show girls, Showboat, Irving Berlin and Al Jolson. Waaaay too much fun.

The clip-heavy intro was cutting between many bits of songs and clips from lots and lots o' classic musicals - and they started to show part of Rent (525,600 minutes...), and then panned over to show Jesse L. Martin (now of Law and Order fame) singing. Okay, Jesse Martin, yum. Jesse Martin singing? Double-triple-yum. To die for. I believe the fangirl term is squee. :)

So - if you haven't been watching, um, you definitely should. It's very well done. Tonight features The Golden Age of Musicals - 1930s-1950s/1960. Tomorrow is the 60s up to the present. Check your local listings, blah blah blah.
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...that my clothes don't fit anymore. Specifically my jeans. (Pants with elastic waistbands are still acceptable.) I wore my jeans (unbuttoned, even!) last night for 3 or 4 hours and thought I'd die. Couldn't wait to get home and take them off. Had a sore/upset stomach as a result. Made [livejournal.com profile] galagan swear that he wouldn't let me put them on again.

OTOH, the good news is that my chorus is singing "Bogoroditse Devo" for our Christmas concert, as well as a number of fabulous other pieces that remind me of the Bethans - either pieces from that era, or pieces inspired by something from that era. Anyone sung Britten's "Hymn to the Virgin" before? Two choruses, and the second chorus does a responsorial Latin call. Just to die for....
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This just insinuated itself into my brain, and I felt compelled to share.

When I was in high school chorus, small groups would put themselves together and learn a piece for District Music Festival. Usually, we'd come up with a clever punny name for ourselves, sing the song at District, hope for a "1" so we could go to State and sing it there too. The groups never lasted any longer than that; the competitions were the main focus.

So one year, we went in, and when it was our turn to start, our alto introduced us in a very excited tone of voice: "Hi, we're Keyed Up!" The judge just looked up, and said drily, "Yes, you certainly are."

That's it. That's my whole story. :)
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A mixed-bag kind of day.

My pregnancy-fog has lifted. pregnancy stuff )

insurance stuff )

We have our first choral rehearsal of the year tomorrow morning - a special Saturday workshop. It will be nice to get back into singing - I miss it so much during the summer.

17 days until my cast comes off! Whee!
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I went to work this morning, team-wrote a nomination for a volunteer to do a really cool thing, and then went to the funeral. We sang the prelude, so then I could leave and not have to sit through a stranger's funeral, crying. (We did "Va pensiero" from Nabucco. It's lovely, and quite stuck in my head.) All my singing friends gave me lots of hugs, which was very nice.

Ate lunch, took a nap.

UPS just delivered a package of books from Amazon for me!! Several were [livejournal.com profile] chicagowench's recommendations for non-guilt-inducing prenancy books. I have a lot of reading to do now. Yay!

Tonight, someone from high school is coming for dinner - more for the roommate, really. But he's a really cool guy, and it will be fun to see him. Tomorrow night I have tickets to a benefit for Habitat for Humanity (got them for free at work), so we'll go out and be social. Otherwise my plans for the weekend are pretty basic - try to get my laundry done, watch lots of Olympics, take lots of naps. Pampering oneself is good.
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I have been meaning to post all week to let people know this. Particularly those of you who sang madrigals with me in college. Remember "Set Me As a Seal"?? (Even though we didn't sing it during my tenure there, it remains my of my favorites of the group's repertoire.)

Well, my chorus is doing a memorial concert on 9/11/04, and we are singing "Memorial" by Rene Clausen, which was written last year as a 9/11 tribute for the American Choral Directors Association convention (or something like that). It is pretty amazing music - very much into the wordpainting idea (such as when the towers fall....). It ends with this gorgeous prayer that is sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin (between all the voices). The whole piece is utterly gorgeous and very cool.

Incidentally, the concert will be a joint concert with our local symphony and a symphony and chorale from Kiev in the Ukraine. How cool is that? We'll do the Clausen piece, plus the 1812 Overture (which apparently has a *choral* section), and probably *whoopdedoo* God Bless America.

But the Clausen piece will definitely be the highlight. And that's what I wanted to brag about. :)
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Phew - another scary concert finished, and we survived and everything! We sang the Beethoven Missa Solemnis last night, and most of us agreed it was one of the hardest pieces we've ever done anywhere. At intermission (after the Credo, my personal major obstacle of the evening), we were all comparing how many mistakes we'd made so far. I'm not used to that attitude, certainly. This piece is most notable in my mind for having a god-awful number of high B-flats in the soprano part, usually held for long periods of time. I nailed some of them, and some of them just... didn't happen. One in particular: my mental process went something like "okay, it's coming, it's coming, get ready for it.... hmmm, it's here, and I'm not singing anything." All that mental preparation and I just sort of skipped it. Oh well. (The people on either side of me got it. This was a performance in which you just had to be happy with that and move on.) It was also *loud* onstage. I usually could not hear the men at all (unless it was a totally exposed place) - and in some parts, could not hear the altos, although I was only a few people away from them. And our altos aren't that quiet. I do have my voice still with me this morning, but I probably have hearing loss.

The soloists were good - what we could hear of them. The soprano was particularly good. She came over and chatted with the sop section at the break during rehearsal (which is rare - usually they are too high-n-mighty to hobnob with the peasants) - and she was nice and funny too. She is an adjunct prof at Westminster Choir College (which made me think of [livejournal.com profile] wavyarms). (In that last sentence, I tried to type "Choice" instead of "Choir" - interesting concept.)

Anyway. Slept in late (think of it as a Beethoven hangover). Went and had a late breakfast. I obsessively pulled dandelions in the yard. I need to go finish that task, in fact. And then change out of my grass-stained jeans into something a little nicer and go to a reception for the conductor of last night's concert, whose contract was not renewed. I should be doing laundry too - since I will be out of town next weekend. (Yay! I'll be out of town next weekend!)

I'm glad it's Sunday.....
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-- Everything is in bloom, particularly the trees. Our backyard is entirely hot pink at the moment, because our crabapple tree takes up most of the tiny backyard. And from the dining room (or the bathroom) all you can see is pink. They don't have a strong scent, but our parking lot at work is edged with flowering trees (identification is not a strong suit of mine) and the whole parking lot smells divine.

-- It's a beautiful sunny day and will be light until past 8:00!!! Yay for spring!

-- I went to a (community) meeting where they often ignore me or are vaguely unpleasant - today they were nice to me (!) *and* I got to educate the head of the Health Education department at Local State University about the abstinence-only curriculum at our local schools - he had the story only half-right. Always good to spread the awareness.

-- I get to go sing Beethoven soon - our first orchestral rehearsal (the concert is Saturday). We'll see if I still think this belongs on a list of good things at 9:30 tonight.

-- I was totally pigeonholed by a teen today after my presentation, mostly just because I think she wanted to talk. She told me much of her life's story (or as much as she could in 10 minutes). This feels good after the fact - at the time I was sort of being polite and wondering in the back of my head if she had a point.... :) And, gods - I'd never let her know that.

-- I have silver and black toenails. Alternating colors. I couldn't decide - and thought, well, why should I have to?? *grin*
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All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, by Maya Angelou. This is about her time living in Ghana, which I know precious little about, except for stories I've heard from [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel and [livejournal.com profile] yaoobruni. I really think I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is her (Maya's) best work; to me, the rest just don't have the same narrative power.... This was still quite enjoyable, because she has just led a hell of a life!

I realized after I finished this book that I own several more of her autobiographical books, and I'm not sure I've read them, besides Caged Bird. I might have to go on a little Angelou spree and get caught up.

After our snow yesterday, it was a lovely day of 60 degrees. Woohoo! Spring really feels like it's here. I planted some daffodil bulbs last fall, and they actually came up and have flowered. We also have parsley and garlic coming back in the herb bed, as well as hollyhocks spreading all over the lawn. Today we discussed which section of the tiny backyard we should dig up to plant as a garden.... I'm slowly cleaning out the room that will soon be occupied by the roommate. Had a Brahms rehearsal - we perform it tomorrow afternoon. And I've been listening to the Beethoven Missa Solemnis in the car (very loudly) because we perform that in two weeks! Made some lovely rice and beans tonight - I'd been craving that the past few days.
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I'm in musical heaven.

The local Congregational Church is doing the Brahms Requiem for Palm Sunday, and has recruited us as extra singers to help out. I adore the Brahms Requiem beyond all recognition or logic, so I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity to sing it again.

Because this is an emotional piece for me.... [livejournal.com profile] galagan and I don't have a song of our own in the traditional couple-y sense, but he has remarked that if we had a song, it would be the Brahms Requiem. The second movement. Nothin' says "I love you forever sweetie" like "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras".

[livejournal.com profile] galagan and I met at the concert the first time I sang this piece. It was the summer of 1996, and [livejournal.com profile] sanj and [livejournal.com profile] megastoat and I were singing the Brahms with the Harvard Radcliffe Chorus. They had met him previously, but I hadn't - we were introduced before the concert, standing outside the church where we were performing. He was standing in line with [livejournal.com profile] megastoat's parents. Me in my concert black. After the concert, we all went to the Big Cake Place in Harvard Square.

So whenever I hear this piece, it takes me smack back into that summer, and into the subsequent fall. And no, it wasn't love at first sight or anything like that. But that was a lovely time in my life (okay, in hindsight it's lovely), and it's lovely to be reminded of it.

[livejournal.com profile] galagan says that now this piece reminds him of his mother - when she died last summer, he listened to the Requiem a lot.

And oh, it's just a joy and a delight to sing. The Beethoven our Chorale is doing is so hard and so challenging and still a struggle - so it's wonderful to just sing out on a piece I know so well, and love so much.

For a church choir, these guys aren't bad. And they're already trying to recruit us - especially because getting us to sing "would be like two for the price of one! a tenor and a sop!" But I need to join a Christian church like I need a hole in my head. Actually, I might prefer the hole.
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So, we came out of another nasty-tricky Beethoven chorus rehearsal last night, and got in the car. Madonna's Greatest Hits Volume 2 was on the car's CD player.

D started comparing the two - oh, that line was sort of Beethoven-esque.

I mocked him, and said "I'm reasonably sure that Ludwig wouldn't have approved of Madonna.... her music anyway."

A pause, and then I said "I just called Ludwig a big ho, didn't I?"

He started laughing, and suggested that I should write Beethoven/Madonna slash.

I think I'm very afraid.

But I'm NOT going there!
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I don't know that I necessarily have that much to say - but I had a nice day today. I rarely work a full day on Fridays - I'm not a manager, so as a lowly regular staff person, I am forced to use our agency's time clock - which is the best thing in the world for me. Keeps me honest and from working *too many* hours. I work weird hours, as a rule (evenings and occasional weekends), and generally by Friday I am only allowed to work a few hours. Which is a perfect set-up, as far as I'm concerned. So I slept in an extra hour today. Went in to work for a departmental meeting (lots of sitting around talking, basically). Had lunch and left - and went shopping and errand-running. I got a lot of stuff done. The shopping fairy (or the shopping karma?) was with me today, and I got some good deals on stuff I sorta needed. :)

Came home and finally, definitively, sorted through wedding pictures and put them in order in an album. It only took me 6 months to really finish that little task (of course, it would also probably be helpful to label them - but I'll get to that). Now I have to do the same with the honeymoon pictures. :) I also put away all the wedding crap that was still sitting around in piles - the programs, the cards, and all that detritus. I'm trying to clean out the spare room (which is sort of my office/sewing room) because my dad is giving me his cast-off computer and I need somewhere to put it.

All of this sort of begs the question - what have I been doing with myself since June?? I'm usually the sort of person who tried to stay on top of things like putting pictures into albums and whatnot. I've been saying to everyone that I've had a hellishly busy year - but it's the little stupid stuff like this which is my proof of that.

But I have a beautiful lovely mostly-empty weekend ahead of me. Tomorrow morning we have a chorus workshop - the first rehearsal of the new year, to get a jump-start on our music for the next concert - we will be singing Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and it looks really hard and great fun! Especially as a soprano - there are plenty of high Bs. Eeep. It will be so good to be singing again - we've been on break for far too long.

The rest of the weekend is as-yet-unaccounted for, which is a nice thought. The weather is supposed to be nice and warm (mid-40s, which means our piles and piles of snow will be melting into messy slushy dirty puddles). I want to cook a big pot of soup (my favorite thing to do on a weekend). And I should call my mother and get together with her - we haven't actually seen each other in a month, which is rare, since she only lives 3 miles away (and works about 3 1/2 blocks from my office) - first she was out of town, and then I was - and since then, we've just been both working too hard. And there will be TV-watching too. D is obsessed with Stargate SG1 - and we'll watch Enterprise too, and complain about it (or I will).

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