Saturday, 26 January 2013

Keane again!

Some of you may remember when I went to see Keane back in June, and the transformer blew out and set a fire, cutting the concert short.  A little too much excitement for me!  Well, they came back to Nashville in spite of this misfortune, so we went again.

This time they were playing at The Ryman.  It's a really beautiful venue, and we were SO CLOSE to the stage.  Fourth row back at the end, but the "rows" are curved, so we were just a few feet from the stage.  It was great!

Tom.  He does this a lot.  But it works for him, so who cares?

They played lots of my favourites - Disconnected, She Has No Time, Hamburg Song, and Sea Fog, and of course most of their standard hits.  Of course Tom had to talk about setting fire to the venue last time (which got a cheer from the crowd).  Nothing horrible happened this time though, except that one of their keyboards went on the fritz and wouldn't sustain notes... at which point Tim remarked that it was because Tom swore at the Ryman, which is against the rules.  (Laughter.)  But they made everything work anyway.  It was a beautiful concert.  The audience was responsive but not rowdy... people sang along a lot but not *all* the time... Tom was in fabulous voice and the whole band sounded great.
Tim, on keyboards. He was way on the other side of the stage so quite hard to get good photos.
 I didn't take nearly as many photos this time -- partly because my battery was dying, but also I'd done that bit already, so I mostly just enjoyed the concert.  I couldn't resist snapping a few though!

And then afterwards we hung around by the stage door and got to meet the guys.  That was fun!  Obviously they didn't have a lot of time to talk because they had to hop on a bus and head off to their next gig, and there were lots of other fans waiting too.  But I was glad to get the chance to tell them in person how much I enjoy their music!

All in all, a fantastic night, and if I get the chance to see them again, I'll take it!


(This is from our concert!  I dunno why there's a dude talking in the background - rude!  Our seats were a lot better than this guy's, too.)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Conspiracy Theory

So Justin and I were working on my Strauss songs for the recital (in two weeks.  Two weeks!) yesterday afternoon, and I commented that they seemed to fit my voice as if Strauss'd written them just for me.  (Which is nice.)

Fast forward to last night and we're texting, talking about the operas we've been in together, as "siblings, strangers in a Nazi country... or a ridiculous looking husband and wife."  (In Riders to the Sea, The Consul, and Hansel and Gretel, respectively.)  Whereupon I said the sibling relationship was the first and best (because truest to our actual friendship) and Justin said "Aw, I wanted to go to early 20th century Germany!"  And I said that we'd have to discover time-travel first.  And then had an epiphany.

Of course!  That's why my Strauss songs fit as if written for me.  Because they WERE written for me.  Because later in our lives we discover time travel and go back and meet Richard Strauss and he writes songs for me to sing -- back in 2013 before I ever met him.  Of course.  Naturally!

I think I lost Justin at this point.  But it all makes perfect sense to me!

(One of the songs I'm singing, done here by the impeccable Elly Ameling. I do *not* sing it quite this slowly, not having her immense capacity for breath control!)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Last First

This was my last first week of school.  Probably ever.

Breakfast of champions?
Dressed for success ;)  (Also, isn't the mirror cool?)
Life is too short to wear boring socks.
He was sniffing my mascara.  He thought it was weird.
Coaching session for some of my recital music (our staff accompanist working with my fabulous collaborative pianist.)
Strauss.  This little folder is my life for the next few weeks!
Such a strange feeling!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Tennessee weather is crazy!  Saturday I was out and about in flipflops and a t-shirt.  Sunday night I had to crawl in to my through the passenger door because all the others were frozen shut.  And yesterday we got freezing rain and sleet and the most beautiful delicate coating of ice over all the plants and trees.  (And cars.  But the roads were fine!)

A perfect ice mold of the leaf below it.
For some reason cold stormy weather always makes me want to bake things.  Yesterday was no different.  I made a jello salad and a pan of cornbread and a buttermilk pie.  (And my landlady's kid made chocolate chip cookies - so clearly it's not just me!)  The house smelled fantastic. 

I went for a walk in the freezing rain, just at dusk.  It was cold but not frigid, and between the boots, and the umbrella, and the wool coat and hat and mittens and scarf, I was toasty warm.  There's something magical about frozen precipitation.  Snow of course, but I love sleet and freezing rain.  Something about how it's water until it hits something... My umbrella had a coat of ice when I got home.

And then I came in to a warm house that smelled of good things to eat, and that was magical too.

Bonus picture of Conrad enjoying my quilt/blanket cave from last week. We had one of those days.

Friday, 4 January 2013


I am not that big on resolutions, New Year's or otherwise.  They mostly seem to me like unrealistic plans which will be forgotten or messed up within a couple weeks.  Not very useful.

But this year I do have one.  Don't buy craft stuff.

It's pretty simple on the surface, but really all-encompassing.  I want to clear out my belongings, slim down my "stuff."  Most of my stuff is yarn and fabric, so not buying anything new, and working with what I have, seems like a reasonable approach.  I also struggle with untidiness and would like to keep my space neater - again, less stuff equals more space and less chance for clutter.  Finally, I'm trying not to spend money.  Partly just as a general rule, mostly because I'm saving up for a two-week music program in Italy this summer.  Not buying yarn/fabric equals money I'm not spending and therefore money I can squirrel away for Italy.  Good plan.

There are two exceptions to this plan though.  One is for materials required for specific commissions -- "I want a knitted elephant in orange and teal."  (Why would you?  But whatever.)  So since I don't have orange and teal yarn I could buy that.  (And since they're paid commissions, I'm not spending my money, and they'll be leaving the house.)  The other is for notions/accessories necessary to the finishing of projects I already have all the other materials for.  So, buttons for that blouse I cut out three years ago.  A zipper for that skirt that's been hanging around mostly finished since high school.  Batting for the quilt that's using up some of my entire shelf-full of cotton fabrics.  That kind of thing.  But only if I don't already have something in the house that could be used in its place - and only if it will be used immediately.

So there I am.  Really this should not be hard.  I am quite, quite certain that it will take me more than a year to work through every single item in my extremely extensive stash.  I am fairly certain it would take me more than a year even if I did nothing else at all except knit and sew and quilt and do weird counted cross-stitch things of raccoons (don't ask.)  But I have a recital and my last semester of grad school and an opera and oral exams and probably moving and maybe Italy - and that's just through July.  So I think I can probably manage to muddle along without buying more yarn for another 12 months.

(I am breaking my un-resolution already with two skeins of sock yarn.  My only justification is that they have been in the shopping cart at KnitPicks since last year, so really it doesn't count, right? and also they are saving me money by qualifying my order for free shipping.  So.)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


 I have a new toy!  My big present this Christmas was a swift and ball winder.  Useful and fun!

I'm having trouble believing how quickly I can wind up a hank of yarn into a neat, tidy centre-pull ball now!  "Swift" is a good name for it ;-)

Yarn and wine.  A good combination!

These will be endlessly useful.  They may not appear on the blog very often, but you can be sure that they'll be whirring away behind the scenes.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas!  I've been a bit absent from the blog... because I've been travelling, and then home with my family, and trying to live in the moment and enjoy this short visit home while I have the chance.  We've had snow and good food and lots of fun (and some pretty bad weather to drive through) and I'm so glad of this time to rest and re-charge before the next and final semester of grad school.

I'll be back to more frequent postings soon, I hope.  In the mean time, here are some of my favourite snaps from the last week or so.  May your new year be blessed and happier than last year was!

So pretty.  Not so great to drive in though.

Everyone got socks for Christmas.  Nearly all of them were even finished in time for Christmas!
Our lake.  So lovely.
Went skating with my sister.