Friday, October 21, 2016

End of an era

It's been a bad year for cats, and by extension for this particular Crazy Cat Lady.  In July 2016 I lost two kinetic furballs, the inimitable Frey Kittehson and the erudite and chatty RJ-45, less than a week apart.

This past Tuesday night I said goodbye to the last member of Freyja's Dark Legion, Caramon "TumTum" Handsomecat.  Caramon, the first of Freyja's five kittens, was born on My couch on June 22, 2002 and grew up to be a striper of legendary size, weighing in only a few months ago at 17 pounds -- after shedding a few pounds somewhere along the way.  Despite being twice the size of a normal tabby, nearly a metre long from tip to tail, he was a shy sweetheart with a tiny, polite. mew and a penchant for flattening catmint bushes by lying on them and rolling around.

This is the first time since 1994 that I've had no cats at all in the house.  I keep expecting someone to come rushing up when I open a door, or to jump on the dining room table and sample whatever I'm eating, or walk all over My face at three in the morning.  In time the cat-oriented behaviours and reflexes will fade, but the memories aren't going anywhere any time soon.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Holst it right there!

Or, "Chaconne à son goût."

Like a very politely ticking clock-bomb, the metronome on My desk is keeping 3/4 time at a comfortable 110 bpm to the quarter note.

Unfortunately, I'm using it as a reference for eighth-note beats.

While working on a string of 16th notes five razzafracking bars long.  In other words, in 3/4 time I have to figure out how to squeeze 60 notes into a single breath.

I cheated.  I sneaked a quick breath between notes 30 and 31.

We're currently working on First Suite in E♭ Major by Gustav Holst, arguably one of the most famous pieces in concert band repertoire -- a mixture of breathtaking beauty, egregious silliness and outright insanity.  I'm currently working on the first two sections of the Chaconne, which, as near as I can figure, means "You woodwind guys go on ahead and the rest of us will catch up with you later."

I really think the "Brillante" indication  for section B should be crossed out and replaced with  "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate," but if Dante and Virgil could get through hell, so can I.  Back to work.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's on. It's -so- on.

The thing about autumn is that it's Full of Stuff. As usual, I have so much Stuff on My plate that I may have to pop out to the store for larger dishes. Now playing, or coming soon, to a goddess near you:
  • Community band season is in full swing now, as is another year of clarinet lessons.  As a result, at varying times I am now playing regular clarinet, alto clarinet, alto sax, and now flute (which, for the record, is the first woodwind instrument I ever tried to play).  As if that weren't enough, I'm attending a local workshop in a couple of weeks.
  •  At long last, I managed to carve out a time slot for Icelandic lessons.  As one of the items on My bucket list is to go to Iceland sometime in the next 10 years, this is not a moment too soon.
  • Working out the logistics for a trip down to the States in August 2017 to see the total eclipse of the sun on August 21.
  • Winnipeg Symphony's starting up as well, so I expect to spend some quality time at the Concert Hall in the near future.
  • I've also been knocking off one project after another after another.  Took 2 loads of concrete to the dump.  Finished sewing a quilt.  Painted things.  Built things.  Cleaned things.  Wrecked things.
  • Oh, and it's time to think about assembling the ingredients for Yule fruitcake.
In the midst of all this I realized that I had only nominally celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19 (arr...), was vaguely aware that a Vernal Equinox had occurred on September 22 (waves to everyone south of the equator) and completely forgot about National Punctuation Day on September 24.

I think I'm going to need a bigger calendar, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Canada's busy. Come back tomorrow.

Currently listening to The Tragically Hip:  A National Celebration live on CBC radio.

The poutine-flavoured potato chips and can of Barking Squirrel lager fit right in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bees that smell like Earl Grey tea?

When I was coming home from work yesterday, I stopped to admire a patch of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)  Darchala and I had planted beside the front sidewalk.

At a time when bee populations are in peril from dangers such as colony collapse disorder, I was absolutely thrilled to see fuzzy little black and yellow nectar-transporting dirigibles having a grand old time with the flowers.

If they start uttering things like "I say, old chap!" and asking for cream scones and cucumber sandwiches, just oblige them and send Me an invoice for the dainties.

Cable disconnected, network signal lost

Less than a week after losing the delightfully manic Frey Kittehson, our household has suffered a second loss with the death of RJ-45, the youngest of Mama Freyja's five kittens and charter member of the Dark Legion.  RJ, known for her sweet, talky nature, her uncanny grasp of the English language and her book reviews, had been ill for some time.  She went into a sharp decline on the weekend, and passed away this morning.

Missed dearly by all of us here at Astrejurhof.

Friday, July 22, 2016

And then there were two.

My Dark Legion of cats got a little bit smaller today with the passing of Frey "Fuzzy Butt" Kittehson at the age of 15+ years.  This sweet, crazy little guy had been showing his age for the last few months, but this evening while playing in the back yard he suddenly became unable to walk or even stand on all fours.

An emergency vet trip revealed that he had somehow sustained an extremely bad humeral fracture, with a poor prognosis for recovery due to the severity of the break and his age.

Miss you, Kittens.