Due to the unfair and infernal government requirement that I shift my clocks by one hour, causing turmoil to my very soul, I shall refrain from posting here until I have recovered from the extreme grumpy state that the time change always induces in me. Also, there's other stuff going on that I need to attend to. I'll be back.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
After reading three non-fiction books in a row in the middle of February, I was good and ready for a frolicking fun novel. How serendipitous for me that Melissa Westemeier’s second book, Kicks Like a Girl, was published at the end of February.
I loved the characters in this novel – they are young, vibrant, and likable. The plot has romance, menacing danger, and secrets from the past. Gretchen, the main character, is a small business owner who decides to enroll in a karate class. That’s just part of the larger plot, but the personalities and interactions in the class were fascinating to me, a non-sportive type. To balance out the karate action, there is also a bakery, which means that cupcakes are occasionally featured.
Almost every chapter begins with a Truth About Life that applies to the characters’ lives and beyond into real life. It’s rather like the opening line of Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). It feels as if the narrator and the reader are pausing to bow to each other in respect before moving on to deal with life.
A friend asks Gretchen if her karate class is like kickboxing. In my favorite line in the book, Gretchen explains that no, karate is not like kickboxing:
“…I really kick people.” She took a sip of her tea.
I do love a book that has tea drinkers in it!
(Full Disclosure: I was not paid or recompensed in any way for my review. I bought the book myself from Amazon and I recommend it to you.)
Friday, March 7, 2014
|To Do List, Sunday March 2|
Today I took down the greens garland that has been over the front door since December. I loved its festive look, but its time had come. I put the Christmas cards away in the attic.
Yesterday, as I was taking my right arm out of the hospital gown sleeve, placing my left arm just so, and surrendering certain body parts to the Great Uncomfortable Yearly Squeeze (which ultra-ironically spells GUYS), the mammography technician told me that she had seen a robin just yesterday. We rejoiced together. I know no one who is not ready for spring. But that’s too many negatives for such a hopeful thought. I also rejoiced that I could check that routine medical test off my list. Ladies, if you haven’t had yours yet, make your appointment today!
On Wednesday we said this together:
As we leave the sanctuary on this dark night, may we have enough light to carry on. As we enter into the season of Lent, may we have enough hope to do the hard things we need to do. May we leave this evening ready to be refined by the power that leads inevitably to the glorious light of Easter morn.
I love these words – they are not asking for big explosions or over-the-top epiphanies, but simply for enough light and enough hope. There are some hard things to do in the Common Household these days, but they are made easier with enough spiritual light and actual light.
At the beginning of the week my to-do list seemed impossible. (If you want interesting lists, go visit the Crislers.) The happiest events of the week are not even on the list. I walked at the mall with my friend and I got a haircut, both the highlight of my week. But progress was made. The car passed inspection. The snow is melting. Let us rejoice.
|Same to-do list, Friday March 7. Background is the paper for|
the invitations for a party we are throwing
for my aunt's 80th birthday. Notice how I did not finish
the taxes yet. Or do my physical therapy exercises.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
We have achieved Perfect Storm conditions for the Preparation of the Tax Return.
1. Snowstorm – can’t go anywhere. Might as well do the taxes.
|This is just the snow SO FAR today.|
2. Household supplies for snowstorm procured.
|Some of these items are crucial to easing the tax prep process, too.|
3. Clean desk. The papers that remain are my aunt’s tax documents, which I have to mail to her accountant the moment the weather clears (probably Tuesday). Plus that pesky set of paper that just refuse to have a destination.
|Einstein stands guard, but now is standing in less dust.|
For the purposes of honesty and comparison, here is what it looked like three days ago:
|Oy vey! Where does all this stuff come from?|
Readers, what are you planning to do this afternoon and evening? What combination service do you wish you could hire?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Hearken to me, O woman, and learn that if, one day, you decide
to start a load of laundry consisting of all the dirty towels and then
you decide to take a shower at that same time, then, O woman,
do not cry out in surprise when
a) the shower’s springs of water have dried up like a wadi in the desert and
b) there is no towel nor any cloth to cast about you when you into the cold bathroom air step thereunto.
Then does Wisdom cry out and laugh at your calamity.
Friday, February 21, 2014
On her blog, Green Girl in Wisconsin asks what February accomplishment we are proud of. Go there and do some bragging!
One of my accomplishments was to finish reading the biography of Beethoven that I started in January.
Here are three things that I didn’t know about Beethoven. I can sense your eager anticipation to read my list.
1. Beethoven was famous for improvisation. The proof for this is found in the mall scene in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, where Beethoven improvises on a theme by Mozart. Ludwig used to have improvisation contests with the other leading pianists of his day. Ironically, today nobody would dare improvise when playing Beethoven’s compositions.
2. Among other instruments, Beethoven played the viola.
3. As a composer, he was a procrastinator, often finishing the written score on the day before or the day of the performance. In one instance he decided to add a phalanx of trombones to the score of his composition (I forget which one) the day before it was to be performed, causing a mad scramble to find any and all trombonists in town.
There is also this, about Beethoven versus horn players:
Ries [Beethoven’s friend/student] was at Beethoven’s side as the orchestra rehearsed [the Eroica Symphony] for the first time. Ries states candidly that the rehearsal was ‘horrible’. In bar 394, over extreme pianissimo first and second violins, the lone horn enters with the opening motif, before the full orchestra crashes in fortissimo for the recapitulation.
Ries, assuming the horn player had mistimed his entry, said, “Can’t the damned horn player count? That sounded dreadful!” Beethoven looked witheringly at Ries and muttered that the horn player had played exactly what he had written. Ries looked embarrassed and kept quiet. He wrote later that he had come pretty close to receiving a box on the ear, and that Beethoven didn’t forgive him for a long time. That horn entry has exercised musicologists and put the fear of God into horn-players ever since.
- Beethoven: The Man Revealed, by John Suchet.
My son the horn player swears that Beethoven didn’t write great horn parts, proof that the man just didn’t like horn players.
The book explains that Beethoven probably met Mozart and Haydn, but it did not answer the one question about Beethoven that everyone is asking:
Did Beethoven ever meet The Doctor (as in Doctor Who)?
My extensive google research reveals that the answer is yes, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, so I don’t believe it.
What’s your favorite Beethoven piece, dear reader?