Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving at our Old Stone Home

Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done, in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mother's arms has blessed us on our way

with countless gifts of love and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,

with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;

and keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;

and free us from all ills in this world and the next.

Amen & amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

conversations with music students

I sailed into the 2-piano practice room this afternoon to meet & rehearse with a new student. As I plopped my score on one of the Steinway grands, I introduced myself to the young lady seated at the other piano.

"Hi, I'm Nancy! You must be Jessica!"

She extended her hand and smiled. "I am SO nervous!" she admitted.

"Of what? ME?" I laughed. "O my goodness; don't be nervous because of me!"

This was funny to me. -Like I would bite her head off for missing a note or something.
Me, who got the music last week. Me, who tries to put everyone at ease. Me, who used to be a student myself & still feel like one most of the time. I am not her teacher. I am her accompanist for a piano concerto, which means that she plays the fancy stuff. I play the orchestral reduction at the other keyboard & generally hold things together in a mildly humble fashion.

Anyway. It was a great first rehearsal.

After that, I attended Italian Diction for Singers. There, I plant myself at another Steinway where I sight-read Italian arias & art songs for the students. They sing for their professor & classmates in order to demonstrate their grasp of advanced Italian diction. I performed a Handel recitative & aria with a pleasant, soft-spoken young man. After some coaching from the teacher, we were asked to begin it again.

I commenced by playing the opening measure quite confidently: four strident chords which were supposed to be minor chords, but I wasn't paying enough attention. I played four very confident MAJOR chords without apology, and then couldn't figure out WHY the student didn't come in.

He hesitated and then politely & softly said, "Those were very major-sounding chords."
-which I thought was a very nice way to correct me.

I like my conversations with music students!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today is a gift: sunny & unseasonably warm.

I have been a very good & very industrious girl this morning. I have practiced 1.5 hours, started the laundry, and did my fair share of cleaning. Later this afternoon, I have 2 rehearsals followed by dinner on the run and then a much-anticipated baby shower.

I have no car at the moment, as #1 Daughter has whisked it away for the afternoon. That limits my mobility somewhat, which I don't mind in the least.

Other tasks beg my attention, certainly. Also, today has its fair share of things to pray about. But now? This very moment?

Now I must drag my little green kayak out onto the River of Shining Waters. It is the most wonderful place to pray while soaking in the mid-November sun.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Martha, move over

Finding a gift of two dozen eggs on the back steps is this afternoon's joy. These eggs are laid two doors down in a neighbor's carriage barn by an assortment of breeds of laying hens. They come in varying shades of tan, brown, pink, and a glorious blue-green that sends me a-swooning.

This particular shade gives me the color-love shivers, and only today did I realize that this particular blue-green is the EXACT shade of our dining room walls. It is an elusive shade that was custom-mixed and did not turn out the way I thought it would.

But now I have grown to adore it. Even more, now that I have eggs that match.

Change of subject: I will now attempt to kayak whilst the sun shines, you betcha!

Friday, November 12, 2010


In the wee light of this chilly November morning, Hubby said good-bye for a dozen days, give or take a few. He is off to the Dominican Republic once again, where the air is moist & warm and where pineapples are always in season.

On his last night home, I wrestled with a head cold & lost miserably. I sneezed & snuffled so much that I drove him into his newly-finished office, where he found repast on his pull-out couch. Nice way to send him off, right?

I arose sneezing & wheezing, but geared myself up for this busy day like a soldier preparing for battle. But alas, after rehearsing with the kid's choirs for 2 hours this morning while awash with damp kleenex tissues, I was sent home by one of my favorite people in the world.

She is the Director & I have to do what she says.

Before I could cancel my 1 pm performance (Glitter & Be Gay, Berstein), my soprano canceled on ME. Oh lack-a-day: she, too, is ill.

Now my afternoon was free to blow my nose 269 times at my leisure. I did manage to practice three piano concerto scores in between sniffles.

Call me nuts, but I am still attending tonight's performance of On the Town. And afterward, we are hosting a family of five overnight.

See? It wasn't THAT busy of a day, after all!

Friday, November 05, 2010


I love thrifting.

My most recent junk/treasure hunt brought me sweet rewards:

1. a generous-sized wicker basket for books, magazines, or what-have-you. $2.

2. a very new-looking pair of Bass loafers, burgundy red, a perfect fit for my tootsies. $6.

3. an adorable set of black & red tole wooden candle holders, great for Christmas decor or a gift.

4. A set of deer brass candlesticks, again for Christmas. I envision them on my mantel! Along with these, one very old brass candlestick which I rubbed with Brasso ( and, voila!)...and these three adorable quail. They are my fave. Ten bucks for all.

I do declare, thrifting is dee-vine!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

late-night pasta

Numerous & jovial gatherings have taken place here recently, a trend that will fast turn into the norm. Now that the back wing is finished and the dining room is in a ready state, we herd in the people pretty regularly.

I love using the new space. Quickly, the stomping grounds are established.

Within a few social visits, it has become clear that the loft is where the kids end up. One corner is stocked with leggos, matchbox cars, and assorted sturdy toys. The other end has #1 Son's groovy danish table, which has been used for Scrabble and, --might I mention --poker. The spiral staircase beckons the younger set irresistibly, with one of the perks being that curious kids can surreptitiously eavesdrop on the grown-ups lounging in front of the wood stove down below.

Last evening we hosted a Puglia Italian Fest; Puglia being the last name of a young-ish friend who makes a good & authentic pot 'o sauce. We came together after our Monday evening classes at church for a fashionably late dinner. There were over a dozen of us, all of which were hungry.
We arrived home to the homey scent of wine-tinged sauce simmering on the burner and freshly-grated peccorino romano cheese. Within minutes, the water was boiling for pasta and the garlic bread was toasting in the oven.

While the raucous girlies claimed the loft, the rest of the crew with tomato-stained chins manned the candle-lit dining room table for seconds, thirds, and impassioned conversation. Time slowed and the candles guttered while we wiped bowls clean with garlic bread crusts.

I love evenings like these, which actually took minimal planning, not one single formal invitation, and turned into a tasty memory.