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Today's subject line is from a Keith Hill essay on clavichords:


On a related note, Beth Daley on learning harpsichord:

I shall write more later.

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/153452.html.
28th-Apr-2019 02:18 pm - perhaps the roses really want to grow
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[The subject line's from Auden's If I Could Tell You.]

I hadn't planned on working in the yard today. What with music to master and work assignments to plow through, it was squarely on the "C" list (along with scraping the studio walls, mending my overcoat, rinse, repeat...). But as I took out some trash, I found that I couldn't stand the sight of the infected hollyhocks anymore, and once I started filling the garbage bag, my peasant don't-waste-the-rest-of-the-sack nature took over, and why not apply the axe to the three rosebushes that looked dead as doornails?

Only, there was a limp green bud on Julia Child, and a cluster of new stems at the foot of Sparkle & Shine:
state of the roses state of the roses

So, instead, I reached for scissors and spray, and tried to trim away the spottiest leaves and stems without being a lunatic about it. A thing that caught my attention today is how two blossoms on the same bush can be distinctly different shades of yellow:

state of the roses

I picked up that bush (Sky's the Limit) while shopping with my big brother two years ago -- he was sprucing up his house for sale, so we stopped at a nursery during my visit:

Sky's the Limit rosebush

It's a friendly bush. It likes to reach over the fence:

state of the roses

In publishing news, my poem "Decorating a Cake while Listening to Tennis" was recently republished by Ted Kooser in his American Life in Poetry column, and the journal that first featured it, Rattle, featured "Substance" as the Artist's Choice for an ekphrastic challenge this past winter. "Snake Dance" continues to be on view at Georgia Southern University.

In my kitchen, I have worked my way through an assortment of odds and ends in the freezer, and am finally about to test my immersion blender (a December gift -- it can take me a while to reach the right headspace to enjoy even longed-for things ...) on a small pot of carrot-onion soup. And I have an excellent cup of coffee, and friends whom I am un-neglecting today. (I went to bed early on Friday and slept through most of Saturday. Fabulous business, sleep...) Suppose the lions all get up and go ...

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/153279.html.
15th-Apr-2019 01:24 am - one skeleton and countless golf balls
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The subject line contains some of the items I encountered while volunteering with Cumberland River Compact Saturday morning (Station Camp Creek cleanup). The bones may have been those of a large dog or a small deer.

Thursday night, the Compact hosted the Nashville premiere of Hidden Rivers. I got kinda emotional watching the end, and some other people there openly admitted that they'd cried. Listening to Casper Cox is going to get a whole bunch of people into snorkeling around the Smokies, myself included. (I already had face time with the French Broad on my list...)

I hauled the paddleboard to Percy Priest on Saturday and Sunday. It started raining Saturday afternoon while I was about two miles out, but not too hard, and I enjoyed watching the drops pushing into the water. It reminded me of cushions(looks-wise) and of candlewicking (punching-wise).

Sunday -- much of it was glorious, with the sun high in the sky and bouncy-fun waves. (I didn't try standing up on most of those, though. It needs to be 30 degrees warmer for me to enjoy getting tossed into the water.) Some of it -- well. Note to self: the next time the wind blows you and your board sideways before you even launch, you need to stay in the cove so that you don't have to call Lyft to get back to your car.

Misadventure notwithstanding, I still made it to 3/4 of this afternoon's dance, which included the first-ever dance-through of "The Baker's Gift" (choreographed by Susan Kevra, the caller), and also Jenna Simpson's "Revelations," which was gorgeous with our live band (Southwind -- Emma Rushton, Jeff Rohrbough, and Anne Hoos) and had me humming snatches of Vaughan Williams all the way home, because windy days and heart-achingly beautiful old melodies are intertwined in my psyche.

Speaking of English country dancing, there are a number of videos from last month's Playford Ball, including these three:

Wa' is me, what mun I do?
My moment is around 5:34 :)
This is one of my favorite of favorites -- I became obsessed with the melody when I first heard it, and I've since taught the dance twice in cavalcades and two or three times during lesson nights.
Hambleton's Round O
A good hair day! Though, watching it there are also quite a few points where I'm "OK, I need to work on that..."


This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152980.html.
22nd-Jan-2019 11:54 pm - spread out the jam!
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Today's subject line comes from An Extraordinary Adventure Which Befell Vladimir Mayakovksy In A Summer Cottage, which I recently learned was the source poem for Frank O'Hara's A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island. Here's a choice morsel from the Mayakovsky:

Give me tea, poet,
spread out, spread out the jam!

I baked bread tonight, which surprised me by rising higher than I'd expected...

baking bread

... and provided both satisfaction and entertainment. It smelled good, made the BYM smile, and then there was this:

The BYM: *comes out of the shower, bows to the kitchen counter*
Me: *raises eyebrows to ask, You are genuflecting to the tortillas?*
The BYM: It looks like an altar.

baking bread

OK. There is something of the sun about it. ;)

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152748.html.
21st-Jan-2019 01:46 am - i got a sarcophagus for a throat
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Today's subject line is from Destiny Hemphill's "dna is just anotha theory for reincarnation: me, sitting in a burning tree (c. 4063)," which is the featured poem at Poetry Daily at the moment.

Bloody cough. Bloody heel and shoulder. Bloody paperwork. The BYM is fighting another cold, too. The list goes on. But I happened to catch Tank Ball reciting a poem about an ex as broken Walmart merch. I found a geocache and treated myself to a latte, which felt very soothing. I bought more avocados and am eating one (wrapped in a flour tortilla, with leftover shallots and soy sauce) as I wind down with turmeric-galangal-honey "tea." I have two big bowls of dough rising, one for bao and one for bread. I received a poetry acceptance. I made inroads on the housework. I took a looooong nap. I heard from people I love. The roads to and from church weren't dangerous. My leggings fit over my laddered tights. And that list goes on as well.

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152528.html.
19th-Jan-2019 04:07 pm - here I am, the center of all beauty!
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[Today's subject line is from Frank O'Hara's "Autobiographia Literaria." His Selected Poems accompanied me to New Orleans.]

There is an avocado lost somewhere in my car, unless it never made it into the shopping bag to begin with. My lungs are still trying to turn themselves inside out, which has precluded attending birthday parties, dances, and the like. There are all sorts of goings-on going on, some which I've managed to tweet about.

I had an inkling that January was going to be un-fun health-wise on New Year's Day, when I needed a four-hour nap before I got myself and Louise to the lake. But we did get there:

New Year's Day paddle

Last month's audition was successful, so I'll get to sing Monteverdi this July. Tomorrow's anthems include Rollo Dilworth's setting of some lines from Langston Hughes's "Freedom's Plow," and the discussion at Wednesday's rehearsal about the lyrics was intense. (And, you need chops to nail the harmonies, which makes me happy, even though I'll be sucking down honey before, after, and likely during the service to suppress the infernal coughing.) We also sight-read a new arrangement of "Drive the Cold Winter Away" commissioned for us. (If you had told ten-year-old me that she would get to sing in the very first performances of so many songs, she would have been beside herself with joy. Twenty-year-old me was frustrated about repeatedly failing to make the cut for elite ensembles. Middle-aged me recognizes that I hadn't and haven't put in the time to become the singer twenty-year-old me thought she was, and I'm largely OK with that: I do what I can with the time I feel I can spare. Which applies to nearly every other category of my life, for that matter.

Speaking of music, this video of Live from Here's Kansas City show includes Gaby Moreno singing/rapping lead on "Dance or Die" and Chris Thile breaking down "I Say a Little Prayer." Good stuff.

I burned my left thumb cooking some sad carrots tonight, but ice has minimized the damage, and the carrots (and crispy tofu, and brown rice, and reheated stew) turned out OK. I attempted vegan benne wafers earlier this week; waferness was not achieved, so I will try another recipe and/or a hotter oven next time. Tomorrow, I will experiment with pork and cabbage bao. (My donations to the church auction included a Year of the Earth Pig dinner for four. It raised $180.)

Speaking of party prep, it's time for me to tackle the ironing and mending piles. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of an Edward Gorey panel someone affixed to the inside of a Little Free Library on Eastland:

Gorey scene in Little Free Library

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152241.html.
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Some weeks - months - YEARS ... life comprises wild pendulum swingy-swoops-de-swoops between "Boo-yah, I got this" and "!@#%!@$@!!@#@!#@!#!$%%%!!! learning/practice curve de tabernak!"

On a more festive note: holy cucurbita, giant pumpkin regattas are A THING! On multiple bodies of water! Including in...

Quebec: https://superstitionhockey.tumblr.com/post/179162884242/singelisilverslippers-swingsetindecember
Oregon: https://www.tualatinoregon.gov/pumpkinregatta
Nova Scotia: http://worldsbiggestpumpkins.com/2018%20Overall%20Regatta%20%20standings.pdf
Utah: http://livedaybreak.com/events/ginormous-pumpkin-regatta

... and elsewhere.

You know this is going on my list. After the whitewater paddleboarding.

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/151693.html.
11th-Oct-2018 11:43 pm - flying organ meat blood
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So, the show that hoovered up many of my waking hours (as well as hefty chunks of my sleep cycle) this past summer is up, and it's splendid. And me and my frock received many compliments throughout the day, and I dealt capably, competently, and/or creatively with assorted wrinkles and monkey wrenches prairie-dogging me through this and that ...

.. and then came home, and caused dealt with more mayhem, including the cooking of chicken livers, and then the BYM came home.

BYM [peering suspiciously at the stove]: Is that organ meat?
Me: Yep.
Me [after wincing during a hug, points to blister on collarbone]: Burned myself.
BYM: How did you manage that?
Me: Flying organ meat blood.

On a slightly less ridiculous note, here are two glimpses of the dancing at last month's Fandango. I'm wearing a short white lace dress and long white leather gloves.

A New Leaf
Marjorie's Sou'wester

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/151385.html.
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Between the host's TV (on until 4 a.m. or thereabouts) and the neighbor's lawnmower (running at 8 a.m.), I didn't get as much sleep as I'd hoped, but there is coffee and almond cake right now (sparklepoints to Past Me for packing the latter), and there will be craic and napping later. Plus my 5 a.m. rummaging through my luggage revealed that neither the jewelry case nor croakie I had planned to pack were actually with me, which is vexing but far from insurmountable, and now that I know they are not here, I am not frantically hunting through my things right now for the earrings I'd planned to wear this morning, and the 5 a.m. start I will have to make to get to Columbus (for whitewater rafting) will be a tad less fraught as well.

Last night's program included "Hambleton's Round-O," which is the absolute favorite dance of an otherwise stately gentleman I met two Playfords ago (he gushed at length about it during the after-party); I didn't see him in the hall last night, but I was thinking of him fondly as I twirled with Luanne and gently tried to help newer dancers through it. The dance that's in my head is Rosamond's Pond (*), which took me more than few minutes to get the hang of, but oh my heart, the tune. And oh, the connection to be enjoyed with people who know how to take their time and "use the music to its fullest," as callers are wont to say.

(* Apparently named after a spot with quite a bit of history...)

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/151082.html.
21st-Sep-2018 03:32 pm - dancing around DeKalb: prelude
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Back in February, I succumbed to a Southwest special offer and decided to fly to Atlanta for this year's Fandango, and to take the extra days dictated by the sale rate to poke around and see some friends, which rarely happens if I'm carpooling or zipping in just for the dancing. There was some second-guessing in the months since, but I left the arrangements alone, and last night I knew I'd made the right call: I'd needed the whole day to get various things closer to a not-fretting-about stage, from moving a dozen pepper plants from vases into pots to shredding chicken into freezer bags.

The Lyft driver and I chatted about her toddler's love of drawing, which led to me urging her to visit Martin ArtQuest, the terrific, materials- and activity-stocked kids' space at the museum where I work. We also chatted about theater -- she was a stage manager, I was a techie. At the airport, I treated myself to a 15-minute chair massage, after which the therapist couldn't help asking, "What are you doing to yourself!?" (Knots galore.) On the plane, I scored an exit row seat and dove into Laura Jacobs's CELESTIAL BODIES: LOOKING AT BALLET. My bookmarks so far include these sentences:

Once the shoe is put on, it awakens. The moist heat of the dancer's foot warms the layers of glue that stiffen the box and the shoe becomes one with the foot.

Leg room!

What I was not expecting, in this shift to vacation mode, was getting hit with childhood memories. As the plane left Nashville, the lights below reminded me of how excited I was during my first trip to Atlanta, on a business trip with my father. I was six or seven years old. We were on an upper floor of a tall hotel, and when I wasn't sneak-zooming ahead in my English textbook (*), I couldn't stop staring at all the beautiful lights of the city, and desperately wanting to keep that view with me.

Atlanta coming into view

Like then, like now, ordinary cameras don't capture the magic of so many lights. It was an unexpected melange of emotions to deal with -- really enjoying being an adult (no one stopping me from reading as much as I want, with drink coupons paying for grapefruit vodka [meh] and sparkling wine) while at the same time having flashbacks back to when I was in pigtails -- and also to about 2002, which is when I made several trips to Atlanta to attend workshops and visit Rancho Lesbiano. Rereading old entries about those trips (especially The Dinner Party) has reminded me not only that I used to blog way more regularly and in way more detail, but that I enjoy revisiting such details, and it's on me to make that possible. (Badsnake and I are meeting for dinner next week. The internet is a cesspool, and the internet is also freaking fabulous magic.)

Decatur also contains memories of the year the BYM lived here (attending motorcycle mechanic school) -- and also of walking along this same stretch of Ponce de Leon (where I've spent most of today) with Honorary Mama a few years ago, when I drove her here to visit her children. The cafe where I've taken refuge (less crowded and more air than the library) this past hour is an outpost of Nashville's Pinewood Social (which I didn't know had expanded), including the Crema counter. The illustrations on the wall facing me are of tree branches and of cross-sections of a trunk. They look a bit like prints of a scarred fingertip.

Speaking of the pleasures of adulthood, it is now happy hour. Time for me to head to the Iberian Pig. :)

* Strictly forbidden by the grade-school teacher in question, but I was SO BORED and there was so little to read, both at school and at home, so I gobbled up all the stories while on the trip, and then pretended they were new to me the rest of the year. I might be more than a little bitter about how me being "gifted" was a something for those teachers to tame rather than feed -- especially now that I realize that other girls had to accept and conform to that crap.

This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/150933.html.
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