Saturday, March 31, 2012

34 weeks

This week was Recital Week around here. Nathan and I had the crazy idea of doing both our graduate recitals on the same weekend. What were we thinking?

At home last night after Nathan's recital:

This afternoon at my recital:

And now, I intend to sleep. I'll be honest: if I didn't have an orchestra concert tomorrow afternoon (my last grad school orchestra concert!), I might not get out of bed tomorrow at all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sailboat mobile

Look what arrived in the mail last week!

It's a sailboat mobile for Baby, handmade by my Dad and Mom.

Can you believe it? They made it!

My Dad actually used to be a naval architect before he became an engineer. He had a boatyard and built racing yachts. So over the past few months, when my parents were working on this project, every time I talked to Dad he'd tell me how much fun it was to have a "boatyard" again.

Dad took these pictures so we could see the finished product as soon as it was done, before he shipped it to us. I'm sure I'll add pictures of my own once we have some semblance of a nursery, and a place to hang this beauty.

Right now it's hanging from our dining room chandelier. Why, you ask?

Well, I needed somewhere to hang it for the time being, and I wanted it to be somewhere where I could look at it all the time. Because looking at it makes me happy.

And I think it will make Baby happy. What baby, boy or girl, wouldn't like gazing up at those colorful boats?

Is this little baby loved, or what?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scent of a Grandma

Earlier this week, we ran out of bath soap.

The bar that had been on the soap dish in the shower had grown gradually smaller until at last it was a translucent and paper-thin reminder of its former self. When I went to the linen closet to get a new bar of soap, I discovered that it had been our last. Already in my bathrobe, I shoved aside washcloths and bottles of shampoo in the hopes of finding a stray bar somewhere on the shelf. Success! There was a Dove bar pushed to the back of the shelf, purchased a long time ago with some coupon or other. Into the shower with me it went. And when I turned on the water, what washed over me with the scent of that bar was a wave of memories.

Have you ever noticed how powerfully a smell can convey memories?

Dove soap was Grandma's bathroom soap. I remember her using many different products, but Dove must have been the bar of soap she kept in her shower, because as soon as I lathered some in my hands, I was ten years old again and having a "sleepover" at Grandma and Grandpa's old house in Morgan Ranch.

A sleepover, of course, meant a shower with Grandma's soap and shampoo, drying off with Grandma's towels, and then sitting at the kitchen table with Grandpa while my hair dried. These sleepovers didn't necessarily serve a practical purpose -- although occasionally we might stay with Grandma and Grandpa if Mom and Dad were away for a day or two -- but sometimes I'd spend the night at their house just for fun. Even though they lived just twenty minutes from our house and we saw them frequently, I relished the extra attention when it was just me, Grandma, and Grandpa.

The Dove bar smelled of pastel bath towels fresh out of the dryer and still warm, of Grandma knocking at the bathroom door to see if I needed anything, of Grandpa snoozing in his armchair when I finished my shower and came out to the living room with pink cheeks and damp hair.

It was a reminder of the breakfasts we'd have together on those leisurely mornings. Sometimes it was eggs and toast, or a bowl of cereal with milk if I was up particularly early and Grandma wasn't awake yet. But my favorite was Grandpa's waffles topped with ripe strawberries and smothered in freshly-whipped cream with a side of bacon.

The Dove soap smelled like curling up in the recliner in front of the TV and watching the morning news with Grandpa, covered in a blanket not because it was ever chilly in their house, but because blankets make mornings cozier.

One whiff of that soap, and I was slipping between soft white sheets and tugging Grandma's blue guest bedroom quilt up to my chin, looking up by the light of the blue nightlight at the picture of my Dad as a little boy that hung above the bed.

While objectively I am not particularly fond of the perfumed scent of that Dove bar, to me, it smells of a freshly-showered little girl. It smells of happy childhood memories. It smells of family.

Friday, March 23, 2012

33 weeks

Is it just me, or have I practically doubled in size since my 30 weeks post?

The past few days have been increasingly uncomfy. Suffice it to say, how do you like my fake smile in these pictures? I tried my best to look like a glowing mother-to-be, but when I look in the mirror these days, I usually think I resemble a hot air balloon or a blimp more than a human being.

If I can make it through the next eight days without crashing and burning, I am going to be so completely relieved that I think I'll be perfectly happy, no matter how uncomfortable the next 7-ish weeks become. Free as a bird, that's how I'll feel.

Now to go finish my program notes and get in a couple of hours of practicing...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

life lately

We've been having record-breaking high temperatures for March... like in the 70's and 80's! Unbelievable. I love having the feeling of spring in the air. This past weekend we had beautiful sunny days.

(Hastily snapped with my iPhone in a parking lot on my way in to a gig.)

Beside our front steps, a bunch of crocuses have come up!

Sadly, I don't have much time to spend outside appreciating it all.

This past weekend was spent teaching, working, practicing, studying... the usual.

I played in a pit orchestra for a production of Chicago, which is a fairly entertaining show.

Although with charts like this one, I did find myself wondering... is this what trombone players feel like?

Hey, I'm a violinist! Enough with these rests... give me some notes!
{yes, that's two pages of blocks of rests, vamps of rests, and... two measures to actually play.}

Things are busy, busy, busy.

I can't wait for my master's recital and oral exam to be over and done with. It might be disastrous (and at this point that outcome seems quite likely), but a week and a half from now, at least it will be over, one way or another.

Friday, March 16, 2012

32 weeks

Life is pretty crazy right now. I have my master's recital in two weeks, and before that I have to turn in my {hopefully} well-researched program notes and be prepared for my oral exam.


When it's all behind me, I intend to think about my baby, my house, and getting a garden started for the spring and summer.

I also intend to sleep a lot.

P.S. Believe it or not, this shirt is not a maternity shirt. Bought it in the regular section of H&M on sale for only a few dollars.

Friday, March 9, 2012

31 weeks

My friends, I'm convinced that it is the best of times to be pregnant... at least as far as clothing is concerned. All those loose, drape-y, flow-y tops people are wearing? Incidentally, they will fit pregnant women just fine, I have found.

This top, for instance, is a regular old non-maternity shirt bought at Target on clearance. {Size small, no less.}

I still find that I can wear a lot of my regular clothes these days... although not pants. Definitely not pants. But skirts, dresses, tops, and sweaters? Sure.

So quick, before mini-shirts come back into style: this is the time to be pregnant, I'm telling you. Because you know all you have to do is mention the word "maternity" to double the price of an article of clothing, and why would you want to do that? And why would you want to spend money on a new wardrobe for only a few months of your life, if you don't have to?

{you can thank me later for the frugal maternity fashion advice.}

Thursday, March 8, 2012

some links

Have you seen Tom Hussey's portrait series "Reflections"? Very beautiful, very insightful, very thought-provoking.
{found via A Cup Of Jo}

And how about this blog post from yes and yes: Don't Be Jealous. An honest look at the ways we sometimes respond to the successes of others, and what we should really be doing instead.

Yum, this banana-coco-chai smoothie sounds good!

And just to horrify some of my family members, one more link: I voted for Mitt Romney in 2008, but in 2012 I'm voting for Ron Paul. Some interesting thoughts from Richard Miller.
{I'm not saying where I stand on this personally... what do you think this is, a political blog?!}

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

things look up

Last night my missing music was returned to me!

A student of mine had grabbed my entire stack of music off my music stand after his lesson and mistakenly taken it home with him along with his own. Somehow it took four days for this to be noticed, but I'm not complaining, because I'm just so happy to have it back. I had imagined the worst, that it had slipped out of my case somewhere in Boston and I'd never see it again. It is a huge relief to have it back in my possession, especially with my master's recital looming on the horizon.

I have so many thoughts swimming around in my head about grad school drawing to a close... things I've been pondering about music, people, my life... and how significantly it will all change come May. Sometime maybe I'll write about those things.

Things like gestalt and what it means for how I play Brahms.

Things like taking all those voices in my head as a performer ("Don't mess this part up!" "Don't miss that shift!"), and attempting to harness them to good use instead of letting them affect me negatively.

Things like my improvisation class, and how it's influencing the way I think about playing the violin.

So... there are thoughts to be formulated and things to be written.

But not right now. Right now I will attempt to sleep. Baby doesn't think I should get any sleep lately, it seems, but I keep trying.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

weekend highs and lows

It really hasn't been the best of weekends for me. I mean, there have been good things, for sure, but then I came down with my third cold in a row, which basically means I've been sick for over a month, almost constantly, which is not okay with me.

And the really low point of the past few days? Realizing on Saturday when I went to practice that I have no idea where my entire stack of sheet music is. I had it on Friday when I left quartet rehearsal. Did it fall out of my case without my noticing? Did I take it out and put it somewhere and forget where? I keep wracking my brain trying to remember what could have happened and coming up with nothing. It's among the most frustrating feelings ever. Have I mentioned that I have to give my master's recital in four little weeks? And now my music -- all of it -- has gone missing. So, to say that I'm panicking about this might be an understatement.

Of course I can buy new music if it doesn't turn up, but those parts had all my fingerings and bowings, every comment from my teacher that I wrote down, every thing I was working on. So the loss is more significant to me than just the sheet music itself.

Today I stayed home from church, sick in bed, dozing on and off all morning. And I had to miss a get-together with friends I had really been looking forward to. When Nathan and Andrew got home, Andrew offered to make me a breakfast burrito. Egg, hash browns, and what I call "soysages" -- you know, those meatless breakfast sausages. He brought it to me in bed.

It was delicious.

While I ate we talked about an orchestra concert he was going to, and I said, "I wish I could play in that orchestra, it sounds like fun."

Andrew replied, "I have already submitted your resume. They are looking for pregnant women in their late twenties."

Haha. If only landing orchestra jobs were that easy, right?

So, there were bright points in an otherwise dismal couple of days.

Another bright spot?

Hearing Nathan's arrangement of the National Anthem performed, under his direction, for the third year in a row by the Massachusetts All-State Chorus in Symphony Hall yesterday.

{those enthusiastic high school kids are prompt about putting stuff up on youtube}

If you had seen me during this, hand over my heart, you might have seen a single tear of pride slip down my right cheek.

I blame pregnancy hormones.

Friday, March 2, 2012

30 weeks

This week's pictures were taken in a hotel room. Yep, it's our annual "vacation," a.k.a. the time of year when Massachusetts music educators pay for Nathan to be the All-State chorus accompanist and put him up in a hotel room in Boston. Sure, it's only 30 minutes from home, but what kind of person would I be if I turned down a free hotel stay? So I like to pretend it's a three-day vacation, even though I have grad school, teaching, and the usual activities going on.