No sooner was my sweetheart back from two weeks in Europe, he was off to Calgary for three days. In lieu of all the work I didn’t get done last week when I was sick (and alone), I managed to get my desk tidied, a huge accomplishment. I put everything on the floor and then sorted in five minute/small pile increments. It feels great to have a tidy place to work.
I finished The Silent Wife by the late A.S.A. Harrison in a couple of days. Here’s the review I posted at Goodreads: The Silent Wifeby A.S.A. Harrison My rating: 4 of 5 stars This psychological thriller was hard to put down. The story of an unravelling relationship between a psychologist and a property developer, it has an almost serene texture to it, mirroring the somewhat repressed personality of the former (hence the “silent” of the title.) The tale progresses in alternating chapters titled “Him” and “Her”, but the main narrative is about the psychologist and how she deals with the infidelity of her common-law husband. View all my reviews
I dropped by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music on Wednesday for their semi(?)-annual book and CD sale. I usually look for tuba stuff, or choral or piano music, or old scores to use in craft projects. I picked up a couple of items, including a book called Men, Women, and Tenors. I laughed at the title, and then on further inspection it turned out to be the memoirs of Frances Alda, a soprano from the early years of the twentieth century. First published in 1937, my copy is a reprint from 1970 from Books for Libraries Press. I spent some time online trying to figure out how to remove mould/mildew from books and got some good ideas, including 15 seconds in the microwave and some careful application of alcohol to key spots.
The other item I grabbed was The Trumpet and Trombone in Graphic Arts: 1500-8000 which is chock full of terrific black and white engravings, surely useful for some writing/crafting project down the road. As I write this I hear the good angel in my head saying “THAT, my dear, is why you are drowning in books.”
I spent a pile of laundry-folding time watching old episodes of Hoarders. Really. I kept asking myself “Why am I watching this?” and I couldn’t immediately come up with an answer. I guess part of it is seeing how mental and emotional issues are so entwined with the impulse to hoard. It’s kind of a self-soothing effort, like, say, playing the SIMS on one’s iPad, or whatever. At least with the latter, you don’t end up with 75 dead cats in your fridge/freezer.
I spent Halloween with my niece and nephews. My brother was out of town and my sister-in-law needed to get to urgent care with one of them for the extraction of a foreign object from his nose. (When I mentioned to Alex that neither he nor Michael had ever experienced such a calamity, he commented that their noses were too big to retain anything!) So while child number two and mom were at the hospital, I supervised a small amount of candy consumption and got the other two in to bed. Here they are, with their nanny/personal chef (dressed as a Zombie Chef) on their way out for fun in the rain.
My sweetheart arrived back from his travels just before I did last night, and we’re looking forward to a relaxing weekend with my choir concert tonight and the TSO tomorrow evening. I see a cozy fire and some snuggling in my future.
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I’m off to Vancouver today on the early morning flight. Zouheir has been out west since last Monday and will be there until next Thursday evening so I decided to cash in some points and join him for the weekend. I haven’t visited for years, probably in the 90s sometime, so I’m looking forward to seeing the sights. We have a reservation on Tojo’s on Friday evening (thanks for the recommendation, Kathleen!), and then I’m hoping to get to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, maybe Granville Island if the weather is good. Or just walk the city.
Michael has been subbing on Eb tuba with the Weston Silver Band this summer. They’ll be playing some free concerts in this part of Ontario and I hope to get out to at least one: Ancaster on July 14, Stratford on July 21, and Orillia on July 28.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a couple of events as part of Luminato this weekend. Their big free concert at David Pecaut Square is tonight at 8. Billed as a “Symphonic Birthday Party”, Verdi and Wagner make up most of the program this year. Tomorrow afternoon, they’ll be hosting a “Music Mob” in the same location. Folks can dust off their instruments, download the music, and show up and play with the pros. As a member of the TSYO, Michael has been recruited to assist Mark Tetrault, the TSO Principal Tuba as well as other tubists who show up to join the fun. Michael’s had a couple of lessons with Marc and he’s a great guy. Sadly, I’m missing both these events due to my Vancouver trip. Hit the link above if you want to join them. They have simplified instrument parts if you think you need them!
Alex has been in Kingston this week, starting his Master in Management Analytics program. It’s part of the Queen’s School of Business, but classes are (normally) held in Toronto. This week is kind of the kick-off where students get to meet one another, are placed into multi-disciplinary teams, go to classes, and generally socialise. (Apparently a river cruise is part of the program.) The next module starts in Toronto on July 3rd.
Vegan Before 6 update: I’m now drinking my coffee black or with heated almond milk. I’ve discovered some new veggie prepared products, and this week made a big pot of vegan bolognese sauce so that I could have leftovers for lunch (or breakfast.) It’s a bit of overkill really… I regularly make tomato sauce for pasta and don’t bother with meat (although adding some crumbled spicy sausage is terrific), but I picked up some Yves Veggie Ground Round and threw it in, along with some fresh herbs from my new planter. So far, so good. We’ll see what eating out this weekend does to the plan. I see some soy lattés in my future. I also neglected to order a vegan meal for my flight today so that may require a cheat.
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Yikes, it’s suddenly gotten chilly again! A couple of weeks ago, I committed to losing the socks for the season, but I may need to dig out a pair today.
Attended a concert at Michael’s school last night, featuring the Senior Stage Band (in which he plays bass trombone) and the Jazz.fm Youth Big Band in which he played for two years. As well as a chance to showcase these terrific young players, the concert raised money to send one of the high schoolers to Jazz Camp at Kincardine this summer. Michael was asked to sit in on a couple of tunes with the Jazz.fm folks, as well as their special guest, saxophonist Alex Dean, who sat in with both bands and treated us to some incredible solos.
My book club is meeting chez moi this Sunday afternoon. I’m preparing a Venetian-inspired light lunch for our discussion of The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper (which I still have to finish.)
I joined the Sea Change Program hosted by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits. It encourages people to pick up a new habit each month. I have been meeting with my accountability group via Skype once a week to discuss how we’re progressing on this month’s habit: writing. It has certainly gotten me back into the daily writing habit and I’ve enjoyed meeting some new people who are working on the same changes. Next month’s habit is “Simplify your day” which is not so much an issue for me, but we’ll see what he has to offer.
We need to get visas for our trip to Istanbul in August. I am very excited about this vacation. Z and I will be meeting my brother-in-law, his wife, and two of their grown children, and the plan is to rent a centrally-located apartment. Unfortunately, our boys can’t join us this time, but I’m sure we’ll be back. This trip has been on our bucket list for a long time.
Next week I will head back to Ottawa to work some more with my mother to organize her new apartment and sort through the stuff in the condo. In particular, I want to go through a lot of old photos and annotate them with names, places, stories. I should pick up a few decorative boxes to sort and store these items.
Henry’s and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra are offering an interesting course for photographers. It’s June 4, from 10 am to 1 pm. Attendees will have an opportunity to shoot in Roy Thomson Hall, and work with musicians in rehearsal and back-stage. Funds raised go to support the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, of which Michael is an alumna. More info here.
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