Monday, May 20, 2013
What a great long weekend!
First sail (strong wind, flat water), first backyard barbecue (steak!), first fire in the chiminea (Rob, Alex, Penny & I gathered round).
Two days digging, stubborn dirt under my fingernails. A good tired feeling. A soak in the tub. A lonnnggggg sleep.
Bare feet on the dock. Three big carp - yawning underwater. Goslings so young they still have the shape of the egg before they hatched. Trumpeters inspecting the hull of the boat. A loon's call on the lake.
No wonder there are fireworks tonight!
The bags of mulch and soil didn't look all that big at the garden show, but they sure seemed big when the forklift deposited them at the end of the driveway: 3 x3 x 3, or '1 cubic yard' has equated into several wagon loads dumped and deposited in the back garden, with offers made to friends, family and neighbours to come and share. I hope to be able to whittle away enough to be able to physically lift the bag intact so I can store it out of sight for use next year.
Planted - nasturtiums in the garden and iris by the pond
Potted - lewissia cotyledon, orange begonias and hostas
Transplanted - an evergreen conifer & astilbe switched places in the back garden and the euphorbia was moved to the front (beside the red maple)
Forget Me Nots
Lily of the Valley
Clematis (Nelly Moser)
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Standing ovations tonight as the Russians gave the TSO's strings a work out. Bows flying and likely strings a-popping.
We were listening to Korsakov and Tchaikovsky at The After Work series. Thanks again to Tom Allan for his interesting trivia.
When Tchaikovsky's shared the score of his first piano concerto with his mentor, Nikolay Rubinstein, the pianist told him it was "banal, awkward and unplayable." Only if Tchaikovsky made changes would he agree to perform it. Tchaikovsky took his Opus 23 to Boston, where they played it as written, to great acclaim. Eventually, Rubinstein did play it, as written, because it became a favourite in St. Petersburg as well as abroad.
You may find the melody of Opus 23 familiar. It was also one of Liberace's faves, "Tonight We Love."
I didn't realize it, but can't say it comes as any great surprise to learn that Tchaikovsky, like Liberace, was gay.
Despite his natural preference, at 29 Tchaikovsky fell sincerely in love with a female soprano and they became engaged. She unceremoniously dumped him for a baritone, based on rumours and suspicions. Rubenstein ended up having to break the news to his protege.
Tchaikovsky lived most of his life as a bachelor, but did attempt marriage again in his thirties. It was very short-lived. The late 1800's and early 1900s were not favourable times for homosexuals. The Soviets tried to erase the evidence of his homosexuality from the history books, but things have a way of resurfacing.
My grandmother loved both Liberace and Tchaikovsky. I remember her being inspired to play after watching Liberace on Merv Griffin. Funny how some things stick in your mind. I wonder if Grandma would be dismayed or blase to find out about their hidden lives.
About ten years before he composed the groundbreaking Rite of Spring, Stravinsky was living with Korsakov and was no doubt influenced in some way by the Russian Easter Festival overture. This piece borrows heavily from pagan themes and folk music so was more than a bit subversive, given its title.
Monday, May 13, 2013
We've had Mr. Fish swimming in our living room for more than a year. I ended up bringing him home from a birthday party. Wendy had made centrepieces with live fish and when she asked people if they'd like to take one home, I couldn't resist.
Mr. Fish provided hours of enjoyment. Watching him change shape against the concave/convex glass was like watching a lava lamp.
Griskit would put her paws on the rim of the glass bowl and take a drink. The fish didn't seem to mind. She is a curious cat but left the fish alone because she hates to get her paws wet. The two did co-exist pretty happily for about a year.
Although we'll all miss the fish to some extent, I know Rob won't miss changing the water in the bowl!