Monday, March 19, 2012

Everybody Loves Mamah--Mamah's Easy to Love!

My mom was here last week for her annual March visit for Chloe's birthday, which was this past Sunday. (Ack!!! I am just now realizing I didn't do a birthday post!)

We just love it when she comes because she always brings the sunshine with her.   And this time she literally did!

On Monday when she arrived there was still a ton of snow everywhere, but thanks to a few 80 degree days this week (yes, you read that right), we have almost none.  So, we went out to Lake Superior on Saturday to take a few pictures.  There are only a few signs there that it is still supposed to be winter, like the little bit of ice that is left on shore.  And I am not complaining!

PS  Even the puppy loves Mamah.  I'm afraid she wonders where she went!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five Reasons I Haven't Blogged in Over Ten Days

The main reasons I have been absent of late are all composers.  Composers and lots of sitting at the piano....

5.  ...Gilbert & Sullivan

I was recently hired to perform with a program called OPERAtion Imagination, which brings opera into the schools.  We do an assembly first, and then all of the students are invited to participate in an opera workshop where they can do a little bit of singing and performing along with us.  I'm super excited.  One of the pieces we'll be doing is a Gilbert & Sullivan classic and will be easy for the kids to learn and sing.

But, Gilbert & Sullivan is a cinch, really.  All that repetition is really no problem....but I also have to learn some...

4. ...Mozart.

There are three of us in the program: Two sopranos (I'm more of a mezzo) and a bass-baritone.  Do you know what a dirge of trios there are for this voicing in opera?  Well, trust me when I say there are hardly any.  We are doing Soave sia il vento from Cosi fan tutte by Mozart, which is like the ONLY one.

The other soprano and I are also learning a duet from The Marriage of Figaro.  But that's easy because I've done it a hundred times, it's just learning to sing it in English now instead of Italian.  Which makes sense, since the kids in our area don't speak much Italian.  Now if it were in Finnish, that would definitely be another story, but it isn't, so English it is.

Mozart's no Gilbert & Sullivan, but the pieces we're learning are short, easy, and familiar.  But, I'm also having to learn...

3.  ...Strauss.

As in Johann.  (Not Richard.)

So muss allein ich bleiben from Die Fledermaus.  It's another trio, though for a tenor and two sopranos.  Our baritone is just modifying it a tiny bit since there's not much else to do in the way of trios for the three of us.  I did this particular trio back in college, so I do know it.  But the English is eluding me a bit...I really remember the German quite well apparently.  Also, I can no longer sing a high C beautifully (darn thyroid!).  But the other soprano can, so we worked out a little switch at the end (don't tell Johann!).

Which still leaves...

2.  ...Vaughn Williams.

I am the soprano soloist for the final choir/orchestra concert at the university in April.  We're doing Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughn Williams.  It's a lovely piece, but I am not familiar with it at all. (Well, I am now, because I am practicing it all the time!)

Lots of practice with this one!  Pray for me!

And finally, the  number one reason I haven't blogged in ten days...

1.  ...Puccini.

Puccini's operas are my favorite operas, and while I really wish I were learning Mimi's aria or some other wonderful Puccini piece, I'm not.  Unfortunately, I have no Puccini to perform any time soon.

So why is Puccini the number one reason I haven't been around?

Puccini is our new puppy!  And she's keeping me incredibly busy.
IMG_3428 Puccini web

If I'm not practicing, I'm more than likely standing out in the backyard waiting for Puccini to go potty.  And I know I said I wouldn't blog about the S-Word again, but it's all melting due to our wonderfully warm weather right now, and house training is incredibly muddy!

She's a great dog, and hopefully I'll get a chance to tell more about how we surprised the girls with her, but for now, here's a couple more pictures.

You have to admit, she's pretty darn adorable!
IMG_3431 Puccini webIMG_3434 Puccini web
And we love her a whole lot.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Backyardigans: Winter Edition

Sophia trying to sled down the little bit of hill we have in our backyard in January.
In like a lion is an understatement.

This particular March has come in like a full on stampede.

And snow has taken over my entire life.

You might remember that this past summer, we spiffed up our backyard so that our children would actually go outside and PLAY.  After all, that is what backyards are for, right? (Oh man, just looking at those pictures makes me find the will to keep living until May...)

Well, the girls have continued to use the backyard to play in for winter.  Which is a very good thing.  I'm happy they enjoy playing in the snow.  I myself prefer staying in my warm kitchen, drinking hot chocolate and watching them from the window, but I'm very glad they like the snow.

They've built numerous snowmen, snow forts, and sled runs this winter.   But this past week (the one with THREE snow days) dropped so much snow, it's been a veritable winter wonderland back there lately!

This is what our picnic table looked like in mid-January.
Picnic Table
And this, my friends, is how much snow is on it now.  It's like a marshmallow table! And that's after I had climbed on it and knocked a bunch off in order to take another photo.  Also, notice that Sophia's little sled hill has so much more snow on it that you can't see the stone wall under the fence anymore like you can in the photo up top, taken in January.
January swings
This is what our swingset looked like in mid-January.
Snow Fort
This is what it looked like yesterday.  It is hard to tell, but the swings are mostly buried, and Chloe has made herself a nice little snow fort under the slide, which has been sheltered from the snow.  Looks pretty cozy!
Sophia climbing up to sled down her little hill in January.  Joel helped them build a pretty impressive sled run back there this weekend, but alas, I have no photographic evidence.
A Deck full of Snow
Here are my children standing on the deck the other day.  Joel had to dig some holes for them to stand in, but he was very keen on getting this photo, showing how much freaking snow is on the deck.  If we weren't a tall family, the children might have gotten lost in it.
The Maestro
This picture maybe has nothing to do with all the snow in the backyard, though he is in the backyard, standing in the snow.  I just think he's kind of cute.  And he likes to play with the girls in the snow, which is a very good thing, since you-know-who prefers to stand in that kitchen window just behind him there and watch all the fun.

My Project 366 posts this week have largely been about snow, too.  (And yes! I am keeping up with this project and I'd love it if you ran over to take a little looky-loo.)  Because SNOW HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE.

I'm hoping for March to go right on out like a lamb.  The very meekest and gentlest of lambs, please.

And I promise that my next post will have absolutely nothing to do with snow.  Not even one bit.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Caution: I'm Hot

My hot cocoa from McDonald's.  It's hot.  Which was good for me, because when it's 5 degrees outside, a girl needs a little hotness in her life.
The truth is, I'm not hot at all.  I'm cold.  Really, really cold.  And quite ready for winter to end, thankyouverymuch.

Remember how I once wished for a snow day?  Well, this past week we had three of them.  Yes, you read that right: THREE SNOW DAYS!  The first one dumped over 12 inches on us.  The second was the worst blizzard the area has seen in a while (the radar on was impressive, to say the least), and that third snow day was just to clean up after the storm of the second one.

The kids were happy enough not to go to school and play Super Mario Brothers all day, and really, I was fine the first day.  The second day, though, I totally shut down and did nothing but lie around and read books.  And I'll have you know that I did not choose the kind of books to expand the mind or make me think.  I read total fluff.  Fluff that I enjoy, but lots of fluff.

I read the last two installments of Josi Kilpack's Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mysteries.  And, hey!  I even learned how to say ke aloha o ku'u ola from one of them (Banana Split).  It means "the love of my life" in Hawai'ian.  I guess instead of trying Google translate last week, I should have just picked up the book that had been waiting for me on my night table.

By the third snow day, I wondered why on earth I ever wanted a snow day.  Especially since that one will have to be made up at the end of the school year.  Which takes place in June.  When it is hopefully warm and sunny, although I can't possibly imagine that ever happening again.

My house is still recovering.  I am still recovering.  It's a good thing that The Maestro's spring break is this week (it's a cruel joke to call this "spring" break if you ask me),  and I have big plans for us.  Things like cleaning up my office, catching up on laundry, and doing other various and sundry tasks around the house.  No more reading for me (besides the Sadie Hoffmillers, I read Shannon Hale's latest: Midnight in Austenland and am halfway through Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey), because there is work to be done!

And practicing!  I have two performances coming up and I am shaking in my boots. 

So I am again picking myself up by the bootstraps that are attached to those shaking boots, trudging through the snow, and accomplishing more than I did last week.  A lot more.

So much more, that I'm totally going to need a warning label that says "Caution: I'm Hot."

You just watch.


PS  You'll be happy to know that I replaced my phone.  I won't have to go through Lent without it after all.  I'm going to give up lounging around doing nothing instead, I guess.  I found an awesome website called cashforiphones that quoted me a pretty dang good price considering my phone wouldn't even power on.  I sent it back to them, and when they receive it, they will email me the official offer and then put it into my PayPal account.  We ended up adding another line to our plan, and Bria now has a phone.  It was time anyway (she is in middle school after all), and as it turns out, we will be paying less per month.

Everything really does work out...and I feel pretty dang blessed for that.