Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's new, may ask. I received a phone call yesterday from a government (I honestly can't remember if it was federal or provincial, because really, they're both after me) agency, informing me that my student loan has now defaulted. They want all their money back, now.

So what does that mean? Frankly, I don't know. I don't have any to give them. The Man and I are both ruminating on what to do about this, and while it was very upsetting yesterday, today I am far more focused on getting the dresses for the dancers finished before tomorrow night, and working on my two costumes for next Saturday night's opera concert.

After much consideration, and a trip to the fabric store with my mum, I know what I'm wearing next weekend. It's this one:
We found this fabulous satin - cheap! - in this vibrant, really saturated jewel-blue, somewhere between royal blue and purple. Not quite purple, just almost purple. It's lovely. I am so looking forward to making and wearing it!

In the wake of the phone call, you may ask yourself: "Is it wise to buy fabric for insensible dresses?" Well, yes and no. The fact is, at this point, less than $100 one way or the other isn't making any difference to the people who want to be repaid. That sort of reasoning would certainly cause a great deal of fiscal irresponsibility, but for the purposes of the concert? Not so much. Also, my mommy felt badly for me, and treated me. Thanks MOM!!

Now, I have many hours of sewing to finish. I'd love - love! - to get two dresses finished today. I'm really looking forward to making my Papagena costume. It's just going to be playing with tulle and feathers, and really, who doesn't like that?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's fun to stay up late and write posts!

I know, I've been rather silent lately. But I have been so. busy. Sewing for about 6-plus hours a day, with some sort of rehearsal almost every day. I've been finding time to check out other blogs, read disturbing and abhorrent news stories, and check my email, but not to compose posts. Forgive me. Since my last post was all heavy and serious, this one will not be.

Tuesday was my nephew's birthday! He's a big boy of 1. His birthday party was Saturday.

He's such a cutie.

Weather here has been we-ird! This time last week, we were surrounded by snow, following a heavy snowstorm of wet, enormous flakes. It was insane. It was gross. It was late April! By Friday, the weather was so lovely, people were in shorts and sandals, driving around with the windows down, screen doors on houses were open, patios were crammed. Of course, with all my rehearsing and sewing, I enjoyed most of it in a purely theoretical sense: I was glad that it was so nice out, even if I couldn't be out myself. I managed to snag a half-hour outside in the sun on Sunday afternoon, studying my Habanera. So lovely.

Just over a week until the opera. Ack! I'm still not sure what I'm wearing for it. Maybe the red one? Or make something new? Maybe this one (6401, bottom left)? Or this one? Hrm. Either way, cheap is the name of the game. Thank goodness for Fiscal Year End pre-Inventory sales on fabric!

Oh! There has been a change to one of my progress bars (knitting has not been happening lately. When I have spare time, I'm don't want to partake of more fiber arts). The Birthday Scarf for The Man was at about 75% complete, right? And now it's at 0.2% complete. I bit the bullet (where did that phrase come from, anyway?) and frogged it. It was just too short, and there was no way around it. So the 0.2%? I've cast on a bunch of stitches, hopefully about 800. I don't know. I haven't counted yet. I've cast them on, and someday, I will be awake enough at the end of the day, or have some free time in the middle of the day, to count them.

I have an interview next Thursday. Any and all job-getting vibes would be very welcome! It's for a position in the fundraising department of Citizens for Public Justice. Advocacy, NGO, socially conscious work; I so terribly want this job!

And look what I helped make!!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

I often wonder, "What compels people to say and do and write the things they do?" In the wake of the violence of April 16 at Virginia Tech, I find myself not only wondering, but angry. Very angry.

The student who did the killing (everyone seems to feel it necessary to point out that he was South Korean, but he and his parent immigrated to the United States when he was 9 years old, so really, what difference does it make?) was erroneously linked to his first victim, Emily Hilscher, with suggestions made by various news media that they had some form of relationship, and that it was a falling out between them which led to his homicidal rampage. Despite the fact that there was no evidence to support this theory, it was widely reported.

One Canadian journalist has issued an apology for his part in the misrepresenting of the facts behind Emily Hilscher's violent murder. Admirable enough, to be sure, that he would so freely and vehemently admit his error and offence to the memory of Hilscher and all the victims at Virginia Tech. But his apology for his inaccuracy doesn't excuse the larger offence in all this aftermath.

Headlines have read: "Was it an obsession with Emily that drove gunman to kill?" "Was gunman crazed over Emily?" and have featured pictures of her bright, young face followed by the statement: "This is the face of the teenage student who may have sparked the biggest gun massacre in US history." The rhetoric in these headlines, in these statements, is that somehow, someway, the female victim is implicit in this violence. Something she did, something she said, something she wore, or some glance or gesture must have caused this highly disturbed, and historically psychiatrically treated individual to snap, and led to the 32 deaths, 20 injuries, and terror and sorrow of April 16.

How is this acceptable? How, how can anyone still, in this age of "equality" and "women's liberation" and "political correctness" think that it is in any way a valid argument that in some small way, the initial victim of Cho's madness was to blame. Such rhetoric is of the same variety as the argument that a rape victim is implicit in her attack by wearing a short skirt, or stilettos, or that the victim of spousal abuse shouldn't have "talked back" at her drunken, violent partner, thus "forcing" him to beat her unconscious; the "Why do you make me do this to you?" argument in it's finest. How, I ask you, can any person with any shred of decency believe that any person, male or female, could actually "drive" someone to the acts of April 16?

That Thane Burnett apologised for his error, I appreciate. But the greater, more fundamental, and far more distressing issue is not the erroneous subject matter, but the readiness of media to accept and perpetuate the belief that women have some strange, illusory, and powerful methods of beguilment by which we drive men insane and lead them to mass murder. The overwhelming and enduring reign of the patriarchal bias of the media is enough to make a person weep in disbelief.

Emily Hilscher is a victim of one man's violent and homicidal inclinations: nothing more. Whether she knew him in life, or not, whether or not she ever had cause to speak with him, share a classroom with him, or sit at the same cafeteria table with him, she had no part in her own murder, nor the murder of her fellow students.

This woman was a victim. Look it up. If you want to blame her, try looking up "misogynistic pig". Don't be surprised to find your portrait.

God in heaven, I am so upset by this.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Suit yourself

How do you lose pants? Specifically, half a suit? Because I can't find my suit pants, and if I do, by some miracle, get that job interview, I will need to wear my suit.

If you see a pair of navy chalk-stripe pants kickin' around, would you let me know?
I really liked those pants.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I knit faster in my sleep

I had a dream about knitting last night. I think I frogged my lace stocking, and reknit it. And at an impressive speed.

I must miss knitting more than I thought. I haven't done any knitting in a while. Too much sewing, job-hunting, opera rehearsing, stressing, and not enough available yarn (read: no income with which to buy more yarn).

I have applied for a job off that job-listing board I found. Still haven't heard anything, and I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's hard to find optimism without also bringing blind and disappointing hope along for the ride. We shall see.

I've got to go do some laundry. The Man is playing a gig at a coffeehouse and he has me singing a piece with him, so I need something - anything! - to wear.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

After another day on the floor

As anticipated, the kidlets started to tire of us last night. They did very, very well, but an hour of artsong and opera, all in original text, and thus, not in English, was a little much for them, though they did seem to enjoy it. To give them a break from all the sitting still, Misty and I sang our Delibes duet while walking laps around the gym. The song is about a walk in a garden, so we "walked in the garden" with the kids. A few slight collisions (when you tell five year-olds to "walk" they often interpret that to mean "run like a mad-man") and some guessing at tempo when we were 20 metres away from - and so, couldn't hear - the piano, but it was fun. I tend to wander in circles when I'm rehearsing at home, anyway, so it worked out fine for me.

Picked up fabric for two more dresses (I'm pretty sick of plaid at this point) as well as some black brocade for my gown for the concert. It was half-off, which is always nice. I'm still not entirely sure it's what I want for the show - I'd really prefer to get some lace yardage, but it's usually horrendously expensive, and I just can't justify it.

Wembley is barking. I have done such a bad job raising my dog to be well-behaved. Meh. I love her; other people don't have to!

Aww, bye-bye Belinda!

Looks like we'll have one less over-privileged, floor-crossing, hockey-goon-dating, single-motherhood-issue-obfuscating politician to enjoy next time around.

That's a shame. There were so many shots at her expense in Savoy's Iolanthe. Some other riding will have to elect someone for whom the jokes are so plentiful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When, precisely, did this become a *bad* thing?

When a person is concerned about a friend, and expresses that concern carefully, thoughtfully, artfully, and with precision, should it be expected that the friend in question get pissy about it?

I don't think she reads this blog (hey, most of the time I think I might be talking to myself, but that certainly hasn't stopped me yet, has it? Ha!) but frankly, I don't care if she does. I have been nothing but supportive and helpful and a good friend for at least five years. But this defensive act has to stop. Getting picky at people when they tell you how much they care about you is just silly.

There. I feel better.

This has to be a short post. I must sew up at least two dresses today, and finish another two. And I just remembered this morning that I neglected to measure my FBIL's foot on Saturday for his wedding kilt hose. Grr...

Wish me broken legs: I'm singing for tiny children this evening! (Nothing like an evening at the opera for a bunch of Sparks and Brownies. Personally, I'm worried the presentation will be too long, and that they'll start to get antsy. Let's hope I'm wrong!)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Titles are for suckers, man!

I hate looking for work. I hate. looking. for work. Almost all the mainstream jobs out there just seem so banal and pedestrian. Or I'm not quite qualified. And not bilingual. I am a huge fan of having a bilingual nation, and I'm moderately ashamed of myself for not having retained all my French-language training, but come on, cosmos! Cut me a break!

This is just no fun at all. I know I'm going to end up working retail again at the local fabric store, I just know it.

What the hell have I done with my life?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Risen Indeed!

Easter Sunday is one of those days in the Christian liturgical year when we sing joyful, glorious music, and celebrate whole-heartedly. So it strikes me strange that I'm sitting here listening to Mozart's Requiem. I just got a hankering for it. I've never sung it, so I can listen to it without trying to work. Much as I love Bach's Magnificat, when I listen to it I end up singing along. To the entire thing. It's a long piece, so it isn't particularly relaxing to listen to it, now. But I can still revel in Mozart's mass, even knowing that he didn't pen most of it himself (he completed the first two movements - the Requiem aeternum and the Kyrie - and began the next 8 movements before succumbing to a fever).

The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of hte Resurrection-Eugene.BurnandIn the service this morning, the lesson was from the Gospel of John, chapter 20, in which Mary Magdelene goes to the tomb and discovers it empty. She rushes back to the house where the rest of the disciples are staying, and the apostles Peter and John (the author of the gospel) run to the tomb, with Mary following. It is then that the angels and Jesus appear to her. In the other three canonical gospels, Mary Magdelene visits the tomb with "the other Mary" whose identity is somewhat debated (likely the mother of one of the apostles), although in Mark's account, Salome is also with them. They find the tomb empty and are greeted by two angels and by Christ. In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the women are frightened by the angels, but realise immediately that they are heavenly creatures, and remain at the tomb until the appearance of Jesus, who instructs them to return to the other disciples. Upon hearing the news from the women, the men do not believe what they have heard, and it is only with various other signs that they believe for themselves.

holy-ridolfo.ghirlandaioSo, here's the point of my ramble. I prefer the first three versions to John's. And while John is the only author to have actually been present for the events, I'm not entirely inclined to just believe what he writes. I think it rather likely that he may have wished to include men more directly in the discovery of the resurrection, rather than reporting that he merely heard about it after the fact, and from women. And I think that it is important, in a feminist age, to remember that the writers of the other gospels had heard that it was women who discovered and believed; that it was women who first delivered "the good news". Maybe we need to go all the way back to the very birth of the religion to find "patriarchy-free" theology, but it is there, plain as day. Just a seasonal thought, for you.

To conclude this Easter broad-cast (get it? 'cause I'm a girl!) I give you: a picture of
DSC00140_editedmy humble self cooking meat! Yep, that's me, with my skin so white I appear to be formed of some highly reflective substance, grilling ham for the congretational pancake breakfast this morning. Every year I help with the breakfast, my veggie-tarian self ends up handling meat bare-handed. Mmmm...yummy. I'm just glad it wasn't bacon!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Prends garde a toi!

Remember how I used to knit? Yeah, I remember that, too. Back when I could justify spending money on yarn, when it didn't feel like a waste of time. I know that it isn't, and I long for the calm and meditative quality of a good afternoon of knitting, but in a life void of reliable income, busy with rehearsals and dress-making, and frought with a desire for something else, something more, time spent knitting doesn't feel like time well spent. Someday, Oh! someday I will get to enjoy it without guilt. But I am afraid that day is not today.

Church this morning was great. The standard readings, a lovely performance of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa duet for Soprano and Alto (well done Carli and Allison!) and our friend Hugh Cawker was there! The choir sang Herbert Howell's Take Him Earth for Cherishing, a piece composed for a memorial service in honour of JFK in 1964. We sang it two years ago, and it didn't particularly move me. It's a complicated piece, full of time and key signature changes, various tempi, and some truly unexpected harmonies. Harsh, crunching harmonies and tone clusters. It's an intense piece: intense to perform and intense to hear.

When first we performed it, my involvement in its performance essentially shielded me from how deeply moving a piece of music it is. Not so much today. We finished the piece (perfectly!) and I just dissolved. I'm not sure I was sitting before I felt my chin wobble. A short prayer, then we're off to the races with O, Sacred Head. Oh, Bernard de Clairvaux: you get me every single time. I always feel such a fool, tears streaming down my face. But at least I can rest easy in the knowledge that my faith is deeply personal, even if smudgy mascara is a slight risk.

Oh, and then my afternoon! I saw my friend Caron, and finished up repairing her favourite jeans for her birthday pub-night tonight. And since I was already all warmed up from a morning of singing, I ran repertoire. For over two hours. It was fabulous. I sang the Lakme duet about 5 times, the Carmen about 6 times, the Wind trio twice, ran parts of Brinidisi (my stars that is a lot of Italian to fit into a short space!), worked on some Handel, an original piece by our former organist, Mr. Carmen Milligan which he composed for my mother-in-law to sing at our church, and I spent a good length of time on the Alleluia from Mozart's Exultate Jubilate. It was such a fantastic way to spend my day. And I do actually feel fairly well prepared for my performance this coming Wednesday. A Spark and Brownie troupe are getting a visit from the opera. Should be...cute!

And a quick final note: if you notice that the car ahead of you has a wobbly-looking hubcap and you're travelling at 110kph on a highway, get out of the way! Because it will probably come flying off, bounce down the road, you'll run into/over it, it'll crack your grill and cause funny scraping sounds to come out of your wheel well. Not that I know, or anything. Not that this happened to us this morning.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Something is stirring 'neath that snow...

Did I tell you about the job for which I applied? Riiight...ok. Our church secretary has decided to retire effective May 1, so a replacement must be found. I applied and interviewed for the position. And I have waited for almost three weeks to hear back one way or the other. Today I got word that I wasn't chosen. But honestly, I'm not broken up about it. Because I have applied for another job, a better job, one with room for advancement and one which is also faith-based! Citizens for Public Justice is a Canadian advocacy group, and they need someone to do fundraising administrative work. There would be researching proposals, correspondence drafting, all sorts of things that are right up my alley. And the organization, while ecumenical, is faith-based, the idea being that if our personal faith informs and enstrengthens our desire for social justice, shouldn't we utilize that strength? I'm excited by the prospect of working in advocacy. I think my Humanities studies would even be very applicable! How lovely!

We had some fun last night. Around 8:15, the power went out, and stayed out until after we'd gone to bed. I couldn't surf or watch pointless television, which was refreshing! The Man started reading Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, and I read more of my feminist theology, and went to bed around 10. It was dark. I got sleepy extra-quickly. This morning, I woke up to electricity and...snow on the ground. ??!! It isn't supposed to snow in April!! How ridiculous! Apparently we can expect more of the same for this weekend. The Almighty obviously has a sense of humour and wit: in celebration of New Life and Rebirth, we'll have snow. Thank you, Jesus, but next year, maybe not so much with the snowstorms, ok?

My mood is hopeful. Now if someone could just explain to the government[s] that I will happily give them back their money as soon as I can, that would be super.

I'm also anticipating tears tomorrow morning. I always cry on Good Friday. We'll sing 'O, Sacred Head, Sore Wounded' and I'll weep silently with the sheer humanity of it all. Death, no matter how necessary or profound, is never easy. Not even for Him.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

When I yell "Let's get it on!" it means martial law has been declared....

Thank you, Mark Planeta, for the gift of your random mind and great humour.

Ok, I forgot to put this in the last post, but really, it does deserve one of it's own, it's so random!

In 2006, Jon Woodward was in Uganda building water filters and conducting journalistic activities (you can read his four articles about some of his experiences here). Upon meeting Wembley, he told us about "Operation Wembley"(more about it).

So that's right, folks. I inadvertently named by dog after a state of martial law.



...this post about my dinner? Well, guess what I'm going to have for lunch. There is no other food in this house that I feel like eating, and the last 18 hours have been stressful. So, apple crisp.

I had a lovely visit with the ever-dreamy Jonathan Woodward. We hung out, ate some food, he met The Man and Wembley, slept on my couch "like a baby", I was told, had toast and coffee in the morning, and bused away on the 136 Local. A short visit, but he's a busy man writing articles for the CBC, Globe and Mail, Time, plus he had to get back for a little more girlfriend-visiting in Toronto before heading home to Vancouver. I have been informed that I must go out west soon. It's another goal to keep in the back of my mind.

It's raining monkeys out here. There is a mud-puddle where my backyard should be, and a lake where the common area between the condos once was. Seriously. There's a chanel system developing, and everything. WET.

Stressful 18 hours. Waiting to hear about a job I interviewed for two and a half weeks ago. Good grief, waiting for a church to make a decision is like waiting for the ERA to pass in the US. It takes for-frickin'-ever. Also, I've had some disturbing news about a friend. A word to the wise: letter-writing isn't always a good idea. You have an opinion: your prerogative. You send it in an email to someone who will be needlessly hurt by it: bad call. Worst part is, I think I was told of the plan to write the email before it was sent, and I didn't say anything to discourage it. Bad on me. But who wants to be attacked for being the voice of moderation? Maybe I'm still a bit doormat-y.

On the upside, though, I have stumbled across this site. Listings of jobs I can feel good about having, rather than feeling guilty that I'm a part of a corporate commercial machine of litigiousness and consumerism. So I'm building up hope that the right job will surface any day now.

And I'm wondering about locations. I like Ottawa, I really do, but what if there is someplace I might like more? I don't know; I've never lived anywhere else. The Man was saying just the other day that he likes living in a capital city, and I agree, it's nice to feel that - even if I'm not involved - I live at the heart of our nation's operations. But I've also heard that the West Coast is lovely, intellectual, and artistic, with a flourishing economy, and Montreal is all of those things, as well, in addition to being a very old city with a wealth of history to it. I don't know. I'm just feeling like I haven't really done anything with myself, and I need to do something, desperately, before the better parts of who I am are so terribly out of use that they are lost. Hrm.

There are funny goings-on in my throat. I am just tired of this nonsense. Get well, damnme! No more sick, kind of sick, a little off, not 100%, residual cough bother. Grrrrr...

I'm going to peel an apple and turn it into something far less healthy. Salut!


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