Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reno Redux - or - Welcome to my Nightmare.
Pardon my mood. I am not a very happy camper right now and not fit for human company. I have one lonely and frayed nerve left. Please don't step on it if you want to live.

I am shell-shocked and feeling rather violated after three days of demolition and reconstruction in my house. There are clouds of dust and a mud trail from the front door up the carpeted stairs to the bathroom and back, accompanied by a continual sound-track of loud banging, crashing ceramics and screeching power tools. They’ve been ripping out my kitchen ceiling and my shower tiles (the bathroom is above the kitchen), repairing the ceiling and walls and retiling the shower.

The whole tiled shower wall was crumbling and the kitchen ceiling was caving in below it. There was horrendous water damage because there was no water barrier behind the tiles, just regular drywall, so the three walls around the tub and shower were completely rotten - like compost - disgusting.

The kitchen walls and ceiling have been peeling for years and we haven't done much about them because the bathroom had to be fixed first and then the kitchen ceiling and walls, or we'd just have to do it all again as water damage from upstairs trickled down. Blogger is not permitting me to load the pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Basically, it means we have no shower for the week and during the day we have very little access to the one and only toilet in the house. Since we both are home during the day, this is not the best scenario. We are using my very gracious neighbour’s bathroom occasionally (often) this week, but it's still been a pain in the - well, you know. The house is filthy and covered in dust and grit and, despite some daily attempts to clean up, it really isn't going to get better until after the work is completed.

DH does not handle these things well - he hates having his personal space invaded and he hates to be left alone with workers in the house. I’m not particularly enjoying the process either, but it’s necessary and I am definitely looking forward to the results. Because then we can (finally) continue with scraping off the rest of the peeling paint in the house and refinishing the walls and painting the kitchen, and building a pantry and organizing the cupboards, etc., etc... and ultimately reclaiming the various spaces in our house that have become permanent staging areas for the interim storage of our stuff (gradually over the next many months – give us a break! We’ll need to recover from this part first).

This renovation is NOT about aesthetics, but I am allowing myself to ponder the colour scheme. The new shower area will be white tile (instead of the 80's "dusty rose"). I'll probably do more white and maybe a medium french blue in the kitchen, to go with the blue-&-white mottled Italian floor tiles (we did the floor in 2000, then stopped).
The good news is I am falling in love with my cute little house all over again. It may lack some space, but the individual rooms are a good size for this sort of house and with some TLC it will be quite charming... eventually.

Oh, yeah... I have been knitting. The condition of my home (and my nerves) are not conducive to any project work, so I've been scheming about some new design ideas and knitting swatches. Lots and lots of swatches. But there's nothing to show and tell yet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I saw this quiz on Rochelle's blog and I had to try it right away:
Which Superhero are you?

You are Wonder Woman
You are a beautiful princess with great strength of character.

Your results:
Wonder Woman 80%
Superman 80%
Spider-Man 75%
Green Lantern 75%
Supergirl 70%
The Flash 60%
Robin 60%
Batman 55%
Iron Man 50%
Hulk 40%
Catwoman 30%

Hey!!! Cut that out. Stop laughing! Yes, I mean you!...
Okay, get it out of your system if you must.


See there where it says it's a superhero PERSONALITY test. Nobody said anything about the physique.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So. Far. Behind.

To everybody who is waiting for a swap-package/contest-prize/blog-post/reply acknowledging your existence/query/
magnanimity (and perhaps a word or two about my knitting) - please please PLEASE accept my heartfelt humblest apologies and assurances that it's all still underway or on the way.

I am having a little trouble (*ahem* - understatement) digging out from the (literal and figurative) avalanche of obligations and the piles of debris (not to mention the basic life-supporting chores) that were dropped when I was sick and then compounded by the recent spate of concerts.

Soon, my friends. Soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wow! Last night was intense. Terrific. A TKO - for the audience and for me! So I am happy, but hibernatory. I slept until 1:30 p.m. and my greatest ambition for the rest of the day is to sit in front of the TV and knit until my next nap... I hear my sofa calling me.
Three down - one to go. I get my life back after this week!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Announcement:(with my apologies for the very late notice)
If you are in the GTA and happen to be free tonight, I'd love to see you here! (psst: bring your knitting - and any Campanula socks you have made or are making)
You are invited to a 50th-Birthday Concert of
Compositions and Paintings by Jana Skarecky

“Circles of Life 3: New Light” by Jana Skarecky
Saturday, November 10, 2007, 8 p.m.
at Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave., Toronto

(in Yorkville, just north of Bloor, east of University)
Admission $15

featuring a preview of voice-&-piano excerpts from her one-woman opera (a work-in-progress, with libretto by poet Di Brandt) about Emily Carr (with libretto by poet Di Brandt), Emily, the Way You Are, sung by Ramona Carmelly, with a cameo as “The Child Emily” by Juliana Colwell.

concert approximately 1 hour, to be followed by refreshments and a birthday party for the composer (cards only please!)

* EMILY, THE WAY YOU ARE, a new lyrical portrait of the boldly nonconformist visionary Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr, will premiere on Sunday April 20, 2008, at 1:30 p.m., with mezzo soprano Ramona Carmelly and The Talisker Players chamber ensemble at the McMichael Gallery Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario through the Canadian Music Centre's New Music in New Places program.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lest we forget.

I have mentioned before that I used to keep Brunnhilde in my wallet. I found her in a newspaper many years ago. Sorry, I don't recall where, or who the cartoonist is - the series title was "Bent Offerings". She reminds me how very much I love what I'm doing.

Last night I sang a fun and frivolous program at a gala fundraiser celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hospice Thornhill. This is a very worthy, underfunded and underassisted thread of the social fabric. Our society is so deeply afraid of the whole idea of death that we go to great lengths in our denial, shunning this ubiquitous fact of life (which is, to the best of my knowledge, still a terminal condition) to the extent that in our haste to forget our own potential demise, precious little attention is paid to the needs of both the dying and those whose loved ones are dying. Except, that is, for the wonderful work and programs offered by hospices, their caregivers and volunteers. I was honoured to be a part of this wonderful event and I believe a lot of money was raised for this cause (I hope to find out later in the week).

I have two more concerts coming up whose subjects bear remembering (well, three actually, but one is a partially repeated program). One program for Holocaust Education Week is tomorrow night, then there's a concert with a preview of a lot of material from the Emily Carr project next Saturday, and another Holocaust Education program is early the next week. Both the Holocaust programs and the Emily Carr work contain vast amounts of contemporary music which is either brand new (composed for this event) or recent (mid-late 20th Century) and thus it's a lot new repertoire for me. I usually love this stuff - in one case, I actually chose the rep, so it's a self-inflicted challenge and I can't (shouldn't) complain! However, please induge me briefly - I need to get this out of my system.

It wouldn't be a problem, but I hadn't planned for a rather extended interruption in my learning curve (insert sound-effects of a major glitch here). I caught the nastiest flu and was out of commission from the last week of September for almost a month. Even after the first couple of weeks, when the worst of it was over and I slowly started to get better, I had absolutely no ability to focus, no concentration and no energy. About all I could do was sleep 14-16 hours a day to recover and watch a little TV when I was too tired to read. That whole missing month was supposed to be learning and practicing time, and I got nothing done. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Heck, I couldn't even knit a straight line, let alone grasp complicated new music.

For the past two weeks, with a few almost comically unpredictable lapses due to my lingering post-flu diminished stamina, I have been desperately scrambling to learn and rehearse all this new repertoire, dashing around the city and meeting with pianists, and altogether feeling quite pathetically overwhelmed by everything (except the aforementioned Thornhill Hospice gala, which was almost too much fun, comprised as it was of silly and fabulous musical theatre, some cabaret songs and "popera"). Adding insult to injury, all this frantic preparation for my current spate of musical engagements is even getting in the way of my knitting, the usual pressure valve and comforting soother of my frazzled soul (well, except for one day when I couldn't take it anymore and I played hookie to go and sit with Haley at Knitomatic and blissfully knit the day away).

So I decided to invite Brunnhilde back to visit here again. Because there's one thing I need to keep in mind when the going gets tough: No matter how difficult, hectic or stressful my musical life gets from time to time (and boy, it does!), I have to always remember that I am blessed to be doing something I love with my life and to be able to share it with others in meaningful ways.

P.S. for those folks seeking a summary of stitches: please stand by. There will be knitting content here eventually, sometime after the middle of the month. I hope. And if we can get the new camera battery to work, there might even be pictures!