Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brassy celestial

Dark days
I'm reading a memoir about life with anxiety disorder. I find that I am learning a lot from this woman's experience of generalized anxiety disorder and the diagnoses and treatments she's had over the last twenty years. She's also included a history of the medical, neurological, pharmacological and psychological understanding of anxiety. I find those sections pretty skimmable. But the drug history has surprised me. I didn't realize that xanax and klonopin were cousins of valium. No wonder the addiction concerns. Sharing with a teenager who is wrassling with some anxiety of her own.

Hardly any substance at all
During a previous time of violence I was thinking about population density on the earth and wondering if we just had so many Americans per square mile now we are going to see more friction and mental illness and explosions of violence. Maybe we're driving ourselves insane being crowded. Or we're reacting to the fact that there are Plenty of extra humans, human life is no longer a precious resource, we have a surplus supply. But then I realized that Asia has a vastly higher population density than North Am and aren't experiencing these incidents of violence. So I'm putting the density theory away.

Warning: onion smell
I may try to make this slow cooker onion soup with mushroom/veg broth instead of beef broth. I do like the beef broth version but the other onion soup fan in my family is the veghead. I like the warning that this will make your living space smell like Onion Central. I don't really have a problem with that but I could put the slow cooker in the garage.

I don't know where the banner image came from but I like it very much. Maybe it's German? [Found a reference that says this is a gate inside the Kremlin.]

The one before

I read Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner several years ago after reading descriptions in the Book Slut's blog. (I originally typed that I read it 'last year' but Goodreads tells me it was in 2012 and I am but a dry leaf in the rushing current of Time.) Here is a good meaty little article about this author. Currently I'm trying out The Corner That Held Them. It's got a good strong start and I laughed out loud at the description of one particular benefactress in the 1300s who was described as devoted to litigation the way other women are devoted to love or needlework. It made me think of the detailed legal court descriptions that survive of that era when other narratives haven't. I wonder if this was based on a real English convent or if it is a fictional amalgam of such.

Bring me a book
This is a discussion of great interest: Wanted, a fairly short and cheerful novel.

I haven't done my homework re-watch of Blade Runner yet. I plan to do that before going to the new movie. Nod thinks it's a pointless sequel so I will have to find another enthusiast.

Jane Lynch is a jazzy Christmas carol nerd
I am a fan and when I saw this pop up on the library's list I wanted to hear it. (I granted myself an exemption to listen to xmas related music even though we are not in the family rule November to New Year's range.) It's fun! I love We 3 Kings, the Hallelujah Chorus and Silent Night renditions. Jingle Bells and the Russian Children's carol (new to me!) are good too. Turns out I can't accommodate a jazzy Good King Wenceslaus. And the 7 year old naughty song didn't do anything for me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Midwest, Naples, Madagascar

New authority
Went to meet a new piano teacher last night. It was a bit of a shock to realize that we'd had K in lessons for 12 years with her original teacher. This was a different experience, someone who has a great command of her instrument and lots of strategies for teaching. K will be doing scales for the first time in her life and have an opportunity to learn to read lead sheets (I didn't know that term).

K was shaky afterwards and said it was stressful. I assured her that she'd been very brave and that playing for a new person you'd just met to show what you could do was way up on any stress measure. I also assured her that it will get easier as she gets to know this teacher. I let her make the decision and tell me whether after that she wanted to start lessons. She's going to try weekly lessons and maybe a recital. But K will be the oldest student and is more like an adult playing for pleasure than a kid being run through steps of a repetoire. I am going to keep checking in - I don't want her any more than faintly stressed by music learning.

Neapolitan season
It took me at least halfway through the second Ferrante book (Story of a New Name) for it to really catch fire for me. I am now almost done and am really enjoying it. Finally got to Lila's notebooks getting tossed in the river and Lina getting through college. It pretty much sucked to be a (modern young) woman in 1960's Italy. I empathize greatly with Lina and her outsized desire to be liked, to be taken for a knowledgeable, articulate person. Backpedaling if she didn't get what she wanted to and acting as though she hadn't really wanted it anyway. I also empathize with her self criticism about all that.

Plague in Madagascar
No poetry in that heading. I just read in this piece that plague is a seasonal occurrence in that country. Only since 1898 when it was brought by ship from India. But now there's a larger than usual number of people sick and it may be airborne as well as flea transmitted. Sorry to hear it, Madagascar.

Friday, September 29, 2017


Rocking on
Got back on my horse of planks and tri- and bi-cep stuff in the mornings. It's a something! Planks are still weird to me. Such simple poses and still so hard. Am still squat curious. Maybe I'll save those for when I'm craving novelty. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to want anything different.

Get the trash to take itself out
Can we just agree that Samantha Irby is the best? Here's a charming interview to hammer that point home. She talks about being honest about her health conditions and how it allows her to be free of the pressure to hide the embarrassing/distressing experiences.

Oldest wants to take lessons and would like to try a new teacher. I just looked at the campus program that I think has music ed students teaching piano as part of their supervised hours. It's super structured and we're past the start date. I will email them but even if we can start her late I suspect it's more inflexible than what K wants. I felt disappointed because I'm not sure where to find a compatible piano teacher. But! Then I used my monkey brain and messaged someone on faceboobs, and found at least one other option. Trying to schedule a Sunday lesson now.

Hide it away
This is the saddest story ever. It makes me think of the childhood instinct to hide what you love from other humans. We are a plague.

Wanted by the po-lice
I'm hoping to see Junior Brown tonight!

Monday, September 25, 2017

New input

More tuba joy! Went to a master class led by Patrick Sheridan last Friday. He's a hoot whether you play a brass instrument or not. I felt a bit sorry for the tuba-euphonium quartet who played at the beginning and then sat on stage while PS riffed to the audience for an hour. But it was fun for the audience. He did finally get to work with his tooters and it was really fun to hear the difference in the piece when he had them focus on articulation by playing their instrument as much like a xylophone or snare as possible. I hope my 8th grade trombone player remembers something from it.

I believe this concludes my brief spell of tuba mania.

Three days without arms and planks. I am worried that my streak is over. It is nice to have a month accomplished and I'd like to see what two months would feel like. No, of course I haven't started jogging every other day. I went out one day and that was that so far.

This morning instead of blearily getting out the yoga mat and doing the reps I chose to finish my murder mystery* between the 6:15 alarm and 7:00 when I had to get in the shower. Currently I'm trying to talk myself into doing the exercises when I get home from work. That way I'd be starting the week with movement and it seems it would be easier to continue on.

Mole's food amount modification experiment (I won't call it a diet) and rationale (latest update) is inspiring. Gods know that the hard part is getting back on the horse. Rather than dusting one's pants off and heading for the train station to catch a fast mixed metaphor to Fun Town.

*Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver. Pleasant and well written, I would recommend this series as stylish period whodunnits with effective and surprisingly licit Romance. It reminds me of the Dandy Gilver series although it doesn't plunk the heroine into such flamboyant settings. That makes these books more plausible but duller to be honest.

Big screen
Saw Dunkirk yesterday. Originally I'd been interested to see it on IMAX. But I jumped at the noise and so on, it was plenty intense on a regular movie screen. Main thoughts:  1) so many ways to die, 2) a boat is a wonderful refuge until it is a swiftly sinking deathtrap on fire. It is remarkably dialogue free. HS gets to play a realistic rat. I wish that producing war movies would reduce the likelihood of actual war. Like Spaulding Gray suggested in Swimming to Cambodia -- boost the local economy with a big war movie every once in a while. Get those yayas out and avoid the real thing.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Getting deeper in, any way you can

Novel/band sychronicity. I just finished All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. It's a book that taps into ecstatic melancholy feelings I have had. Like watching the clouds move over the moon and wanting to stay out all night singing back to the sky. In the last couple of chapters she mentions the band The Weepies. I just found a CD by that band at my public library and I love them and their poetry so much. I assumed that they were Canadian but it looks like they're 'merican after all. 

The songs fit in with the book so well. They acknowledge the beauty and the pain that's twirled together in this plane of existence. And don't take themselves too seriously.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


More things I have collected this week.

How to squat properly. Link found in a metafilter exercise thread. This person is so enthusiastic about squats it makes me want to try...

I realized recently that I need some knee length knit skirts in my life. And then I found some patterns. Here's one that sounds achievable. I would ideally pick a busy pattern that would hide my inaccuracies. I could even be brave and try using the machine. The pattern calls for over a yard of fabric so buy 2 yards to be sure.

I could use a new pair of black flats and a new pair of brown shoes too. So far I have not enjoyed shopping online much. But here's a pair that look good and ought to be semi comfortable.

Turmeric Chicken Noodle Soup is a phrase I came across earlier today. This recipe sounds very promising.

Noticed this bumper sticker in the work lot recently:

I don't actually think cats wearing costumes and in very close proximity would get along at all.