Friday, September 23, 2011

Tonight's concert

This year the programming for the Utah Symphony concerts is focused on Beethoven.  The first concert of the year featured the Ninth Symphony and tonight we got the 8th.  They are being performed in reverse order and will end with the 1st.

Thierry Fischer, our conductor, was in very good form tonight.  I am happy to say that I was right when I predicted that good things were in store for us as a community! 

Tonight's concert began with two short pieces by Stravinsky Suites No. 1 and No. 2.  I don't recall ever having heard the first suite before but I know I have heard the second one.  The second made me think of a sort of off-center circus, for the Marche, Valse, and Polka movements and the Galop made me think of a big, busy city.  There were comic moments in the Valse and Polka movements that at their conclusion brought a ripple of laughter throughout the audience.

These pieces were followed by a wonderful performance of Symphony No. 8.  It was crisply played, never dragging, and quite lovely.  The Utah Symphony has uniformly strong sections and the woodwinds shone, as did the horns and of course the strings.  I enjoyed it very much.

Probably the highlight of the evening, though, was Garrick Ohlsson's performance of the Piano Concerto No. 5 (Beethoven's last one).  Ohlsson's playing was masterful: delicate and with great restraint at times and powerful at others.  The romantic character of this concerto was very much in evidence but there was no sloppy sentimentalism.  He struck exactly the right balance for me.

I wondered how anything could follow that but Ohlsson returned to the stage and gave us an encore.  (Everyone was standing and applauding heartily!)  It was Chopin's Waltz in E Flat (Opus 18), a piece it seems everyone knows. 

I enjoyed myself very, very much.  My knee is shouting at me these days and anything that can distract me so completely from the pain has to be pretty amazing.  It certainly was!

The bagpiper is back.  I was trying to keep the melodies I heard in Abravanel Hall going in my head as I waited for the train to take me to my car and it's not easy.

Tomorrow I have a couple of social things and then Sunday I need to hunker down, pack my bag for the re-hab facility and do the last minute things before my departure Monday morning for the Orthopaedic Center. 

I probably will be out of touch here until I get home again.  That will be about ten days, possibly longer, although I am hoping not.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I actually CAN count....

In the last post I counted off the days until I get my new knee and put down the wrong number.  I can count.  Really.  After today there are only three days.

I mis-named the second hand store, too.  It's name is Our Store, and now they have a lot more good things than they did.  Someone from the shop came to transport the drafting table that I wasn't using and wanted to give to them.  I'm was grateful for the help.  And now, grateful for the room.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting closer....

Only four more days until I get the new knee.....  I am feeling the lack of anti-inflammatory medication, in my case ibuprofen, so it is clear that it was doing some good.

I am re-organizing my house to accommodate crutches and or a walker when I get back from re-hab.  While doing so I realized that some of the things I have haven't been used in a while and really are just in the way.  So I have been taking things to Our Place, a second-hand shop run for the benefit of the People With Aids Coalition.  It's hard to think of any group of people who need and deserve help more than they do.  There are some nice things going there.  Another big load goes there tomorrow.  A woman who works there is coming by in her boy friend's pick up to take the drafting table which doesn't fit into a Prius!

I am still going to my exercise group although everything is more painful, still I want to be as strong as possible going into the knee replacement.

I am looking forward to a Utah Symphony Concert on Friday evening.  I am going to a potluck on Saturday so I traded for the earlier performance.  I am planning to transfer some music to my iPod so I can listen during the surgery.  Unless I am given a convincing reason not to, I am opting for a spinal block so that I don't have to wait a couple of days for my brain to return.  That should be interesting...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Photo and news

As I expected, I finished the new towels yesterday, but before I could photograph them (there were 15 plus one square napkin) I got a call from a friend who works at the gallery that represents me and frames my work there.  She was leaving for a family reunion and wondered if I had any towels because she would like to buy a couple to give as gifts.

Did I have towels?  Oh, my, yes!  So I gathered all of them up and took them to show.  Other folks there got into the act and by the time I left, there were fewer than before.  That was such good news and such a well-timed call.

The towels that I have from this series are shown in this photo:

They are very cheery, I think.

I went on from there to cross eight errands off my to-do list.  I love it when I can run several errands in one, choreographed trip!  Eight is a new personal record.

When I got home, I had barely come in the door when I got a call from the scheduler for my knee surgeon who told me that my doctor will be otherwise occupied on October 10th.  I had a choice, he told me, of a later date in October or the single opening in September, the 26th.  I chose the 26th.  The pain in my knee grows every day; it could be that there were residual effects from the last series of injections into the knee capsule that are now wearing off.  On Monday I must stop taking anti-inflammatory medications so it will be a trying week.

I am very relieved that I can get this new knee sooner but it does mean that the generous two weeks I thought I had have turned into one.  I have several pre-op tests to go through and a couple of them are scheduled for tomorrow morning, first thing.  Then I will pick up a prescription at Costco and the handicapped sign that I will use for closer parking after the surgery at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.  And so another day drains away and it hasn't begun yet.

By the way I am reading a book that is written in an interesting way as a first person narrative called The Reluctant Fundamentalist.  It was recommended by my friend, Teri Jo.  From here on out, I will solicit recommendations from Teri because this one is a winner.  I suspect it will be getting painful in a few pages though....

Monday, September 12, 2011

The season has begun and other things

Saturday evening was the first Utah Symphony concert of the season--actually the first was the night before, but I go on Saturdays--and it was exciting.  I'm always glad when these concerts begin again.

Because it was the night before the tenth anniversary of the attacks on this country, the concert began with a piece written by John Adams "On the Transmigration of Souls".  You may recall that I loved "Nixon in China" which was part of the live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera so I was prepared to love this piece.  And I did.  There is a chorus (adults), the Utah Symphony Chorus, a children's chorus, the Madeleine Choir School, the orchestra, of course, and spoken and sound effect recordings.  The piece begins with street sounds of a big city and later in the piece footsteps hurrying down a staircase, and spoken text as well.

The piece is contemplative, mostly quiet, sometimes dissonant, sometimes eerie and for me profoundly moving.  We were asked not to applaud during the first half of the concert, neither when Fischer appeared nor at the conclusion of the piece.  That quiet added to the mood.

The second half was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.  I have heard this piece so many times, both on recordings and live, that I wasn't expecting to be knocked out by it as I was.  I heard things I had not heard before although I am sure they have been there.  For me, that is one of the signs of a good performance:  the discovery of more than I knew was there.  The soloists were uniformly excellent and the chorus was excellent, too.

It was a great evening.  When I got home I got to work making a cake I planned to take to a pot luck the next day.  I knew that it would not cool enough to frost if I made it in the morning.

The neighborhood potluck was very pleasant, attended by interesting people.  I never know who will come to these monthly gatherings and that is part of the fun of it.

In the meantime I have finished weaving the towels you saw underway in the last post.  I have finished, hemmed and washed all of them and ironed about half of them.  When I have ironed them all I will photograph the lot so you can see them, too.  I like them.

I am also working on clearing out some things I don't use to create more space to maneuver.  I will need it because I am going bionic!  On October 10th I am getting a new right knee.  As things are now, the injections that were miraculous for a while have stopped working so that knee hurts all of the time: sitting, standing, lying down, walking, etc.  I am looking forward to being free of that pain.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New towels underway!

Now you can see the color details I referred to in the last post.  The towels are now underway.  When these are finished, they will be for sale like all the others.  I like this one very much.

I am including two photos so you can see the entire towel.  Do you see why I like it?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Laboring on Labor Day weekend

The naturally pigmented cotton cloth is finished, washed and ironed:

I have a favorite, loose-fitting summer top that I will use as a pattern to make a top from this cloth.  I have a sun hat the same color so I should look pretty spiffy.

I have chosen the colors and measured out the warp for the next set of towels.  I have beamed the warp (enough for 13 of them) and threaded more than half the warp.  It's a bit over 20 inches wide ( ~50 cm).  I always look forward to threading my loom because I can sit inside it on a stool that is just the right size (another Jim Hokett creation), listen to a recording of a book (Laura Lippman at the moment) and thread away.  To be honest, I am always a little bit sorry when I get to the end, although then I get to draw the threads through the reed, tie them on and get started making there are compensations!

Here is where things are:

What you can't see in this photo are the orange borders of the rose/coral stripes and the blue violet bordered with gray/white marl in the turquoise borders.  You'll see those details later.

I like them already.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to work

My duaghter just left.  She lives in Massachusetts and will be flying there in a few days.  She was here for nearly a week during which time I did almost no weaving--as you might imagine.  I don't see her often so we must make the most of time we have, when we have it.

I did take her photo but she was adamant that I not post it and I bow to her wishes.

The cotton cloth is in the end stage at the moment.  I have a special shuttle, made by Jim Hokett, (Hokett Would Working), that is long but made with a very shallow profile especially for weaving the last few inches of the warp.  I think I can squeeze another inch out of this warp which will leave only about 8" unwoven (the depth of the castle, essentially).  I know I will find this shuttle endlessly useful.  You can see it here:

It came with a bobbin, which was fortunate because I use a Shacht double-ended bobbin winder and don't think I could make a quill using it.

Once I have woven this off, I will make some more cotton towels.  I have the colors all picked out.  They will contrast with this almost no-color warp.  (But, remember that once I have washed this cloth there will be a lot of green.)

I'm feeling a bit let down having my daughter go again.  She lives so far away that we don't get to see each other often.

By the way, as it turned out the appointment I made in June for a colonoscopy fell during Susan's visit.  While the prep was miserable (you need to be squeaky clean inside!) the whole procedure was the best experience I have had with any colonoscopy I have ever had (6th).  I grow polyps and need to get them cleared out at intervals and I am good to go for now!  Have you had yours?