Friday, November 28, 2008

In which Chorus Shops

With all deference to Black Friday (which doesn't really happen up here in Canada) and Buy Nothing Day (which does, but I always seem to need to buy something on that day, so I buy nothing on other days to compensate), WH and I are going shopping this evening.

On the list:
  • New pants for WH because since September 1st, he has lost 25 pounds!
  • A pair of boots, with fuzzy lining for me, something that will go with pants and skirts.
  • Perhaps a new pair of boots for WH that he can wear to shovel the sidewalks.
  • Something to send back to WH's hometown for his best friend's new baby boy.
  • Maybe some groceries if we feel up to it.
I've started thinking a little bit about Christmas plans this week and what needs to get done in the next little while. I'd like to get a package together and sent off to WH's parents and sister's family in the next couple of weeks to make sure it gets there for the 25th. And I guess I need to make some plans for baking. I think that it would be a lot of fun to do a gingerbread house this year, but I'll have to see how much energy we have. Also on the baking list is, of course, rum balls, and a couple of kinds of cookies that I made last year that were fantastic, and probably some new ones as well.

And we'll try to find some time to invite some friends over during the holiday season when schedules are a little bit more relaxed and people might have more time.

I have to say, that despite how busy November has been, I feel like I have more energy going into the holiday season than I did at this time last year. We'll see if it lasts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being the Choir Wyf, Part 4

I've been involved in a number of conversations in the last couple of weeks about the choices that professional musicians make about balancing family and career. We know many professional musicians who have chosen to have no family at all and have thrust all their energy into the career side. In many cases, extreme loneliness is the result, even if the career is highly successful. When we got home on Friday night after the performance of Solomon, WH said to me how happy he was to be able to come home and celebrate a successful concert with someone else. One of our singer friends has been the subject of some criticism for having had children and a family perhaps at the expense of what could have been a vast international career. But at the end of the day, she goes home to two beautiful children, and a house and husband that she loves... and I'm pretty sure that she has absolutely no regrets. And I am glad, hugely glad, to be able to be the person with whom WH comes home and celebrates his successes.

Here's a bloggy safe picture of my hubby rehearsing the choir before the dress rehearsal of Solomon last week. Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Roomba Kitty

I love this video... I think that it's the tail dragging behind that cracks me up the most.

Trader Tuesday : Grilled Summer Pasta

This is our favourite summer recipe to cook on the BBQ. It tastes amazing and makes wonderful leftovers, which never last very long!


¾ Cup olive oil

½ lemon juiced

2 TBSPS dried basil or oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

(we often use just pre-made grill spice for vegetables for the marinade, and I don't think I've ever put lemon juice on it...)


1 yellow pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 red pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 orange pepper seeded, cut in chunks

1 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced (Pre-cook in microwave until 50% done) (we often leave out the sweet potato... it's yummy, but also kind of a pain. We replace it with more peppers, usually... green ones are good.)

1 red onion, sliced

2 zucchinis, sliced


1 bag of fusili pasta (cooked)

1 cup goat cheese, chopped

1 cup FRESH basil, chopped

1 cup field tomatoes, finely diced

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (Do not burn the pine nuts. Burnt pine nuts are bad for a marriage. The first time we made this recipe together, I burned the pinenuts, much to my husband's distress. Then he burned the pine nuts the next time so badly that they left little pine nut shadows in the bottom of the pan. I felt vindicated and probably gloated quite a lot.)

Mix together marinade and Veggies. Grill Veggies on a hot BBQ until soft and slightly charred.

Mix while hot with cooked fusili, goat cheese, fresh basil, diced tomatoes and pinenuts. Serve and garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Revelling in the Quiet

Solomon went very, VERY well. We had a terrific house, and all the musicians - orchestra, choir and soloists - performed wonderfully well. I'm so proud of what WH has accomplished with this concert... what a rush the whole experience has been.

We have spent the rest of the weekend moving around very quietly and without a lot of motivation. We didn't get dressed yesterday until 3pm, and are having a quiet afternoon today with the Grey Cup, trying to get caught up on some of the work that we haven't had time to focus on in the last couple of weeks.

I think that the cats are grateful to have a little attention.

Back to the regular grind tomorrow, which will be just fine. Prep for Messiah is well underway, and at least one other Christmas gig, as well as early work on our spring concerts.

And, of course, my day job!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're Hanging in There

This week is unbelievably busy.

Yesterday, we picked WH's parents up from the airport in the morning, and then WH had his first orchestra rehearsal for this Friday's production of Solomon. This morning, we were up at the crack of dawn to get to a promotional TV shoot for the concert at 6am, and now (10am) WH is doing a radio interview. Then we're rushing home to catch a phone call from the local paper, grab some lunch, hopefully find a bit of a nap, and then the orchestra and soloists rehearse from 2 until 4:30. Then home for a quick dinner before orchestra and choir rehearse tonight from 6:30 until 9:30.

WH teaches first thing tomorrow morning before we rush off to do another TV promotion, and then I think we have the afternoon quiet before our dress rehearsal in the evening.

There are no rehearsals on Thursday, but I have to go to a meeting in the morning, and then a grant application workshop in the early afternoon. One of our soloists is giving a master class at Colourful U. in the afternoon, which we both hope to get to, and then we are planning to make reservations somewhere for the cast of soloists for supper.

On Friday, I think that we are going to be very quiet and very relaxed so that we are full of energy for the concert in the evening!

I took this week off work and I'm very glad that I did. I wouldn't want to be missing all this excitement! Having WH's parents in town is wonderful, because they are taking care of a significant amount of the food preparation for us, so we're not having to worry too much about getting fed!


For those who asked about the car break-in: WH lost an old iPod and a bunch of spare change, and they punched in the lock on the passenger side, so we'll have to get that fixed. So it's a pain in the butt, but at least they didn't break any windows.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Witnessed in the Police Station This Morning

... where WH and I were filling out a report about a car break-in.

The gentleman in line in front of us was, apparently, visiting the police station to see how he could have his samurai swords returned to him. The swords had been taken from him two years ago by the police in an incident that also involved a tasering.

Police Officer: Did you get tasered because you were carrying the swords?
Guy: No, I got tasered because they asked me to put down my weapons, and I told them that they weren't weapons, they were educational tools.
Police Officer: Actually, they're weapons.
Guy: With all due respect, they're not weapons.
Police Officer: With all due respect, get the hell out of my police station.

Then there was a lot of yelling. The police officer was a lot louder at the yelling, so the guy left. But not before leaving a multi-page hand-written manifesto about his right to have his swords back.

Ah, Saturday morning in the community station.

Friday, November 14, 2008



Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Wednesday evenings are my evenings at home on my own. WH is in rehearsal tonight, but when he's not rehearsing, Wednesdays are his curling night. (If you're not familiar with curling, read here. Curling is awesome.)

Because I'm in rehearsals most other nights during the work week, Wednesdays are my night to get business manager work done for Chamber Choir, get caught up on house work, cook a nice dinner, cuddle with the kittehs, knit, cross-stitch, chat with friends, play Word Twist etc.

And it's my night to watch crime shows on TV! Well, actually, first I often watch America's Next Top Model, although lately, I've found that the show has gone from Endearing-Stupid to just Stupid-Stupid, so I've stopped seeking it out. But I have started watching Criminal Minds again, as well as CSI NY. I'm especially fond of Criminal Minds, if I can get past the fear factor.

So now I'm going to get back to it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trader Tuesday: Herbed Fish and Vegetables

So this recipe is taken from Prevention's Healthy One-Dish Meals in Minutes. It's on our meal plan for Friday night, so I can't speak to how good it tastes, only that it's quick (40 minutes total - prep and cooking time) and easy! 

Herbed Fish and Vegetables 

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice 
1 tsp dried thyme leaves 
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice 
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch of ground red pepper (optional) 
4 swordfish, halibut or other firm white fish fillets (4 oz each)
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 onions, quartered 
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 
1 large green pepper, cubed 
4 tsp butter or margarine 

Preheat the oven to 425F.  

Lay four 12" x 18" pieces of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the work surface and lightly coat with no-stick spray. 

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, thyme, onion salt, all-spice, black pepper and red pepper. Add the fish, potatoes, onions, celery and green peppers. Toss to coat. 

Place a fish fillet in the center of each piece of foil or paper. Divide the vegetables evenly among them. Top with the butter or margarine. 

Fold the long sides of foil or paper together, making several folds to encase the food snugly. Fold the ends closed, like a package to enclose securely. 

Lay the packets, seam side up, on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fish and vegetables are tender when tested with a fork. Be careful of escaping steam when opening the packets. 

Per Serving: 373 calories, 8.8g total fat, 3.7 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 369 mg. sodium

Monday, November 10, 2008

Meal Planning

Not actually Chorus.

I did it, I did it, I DID IT! I planned our dinners for the WHOLE WEEK yesterday, and then we went to the grocery store and bought all the groceries for all the meals I've planned. If that doesn't seem like a big deal, trust me, it's a big deal for us. This week will mark the first time EVER that we've actually planned a week's worth of food and then followed-through with it.

So here's what's on the menu, starting with last night:

Sunday: Orange Cumin Chicken, white rice and steamed carrots.
Monday: Chili (WH is making this for the crock-pot right now!) I'll go home and make some muffins to go with it.
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas with green salad
Wednesday: Marinated Pork Tenderloin with baby potatoes and broccoli
Thursday: Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Friday: White Fish (probably halibut) with potatoes and veggies, all done in a tin foil pocket in the oven!

The only thing I have left to buy for the week is the fish, which I'll buy fresh from FredtheButcher on my way home from work on Friday. I'll provide a recipe or two tomorrow for Trader Tuesday!

In other news, the first concert of the year for Chamber Choir went very, very well. This concert was a joint project with one of our local youth choirs, so we had a huge audience and they were very responsive. The choir sounded great!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Five: Funny Papers

Today from the Revgals, we have a Friday Five about comics! Presbyterian Gal writes:

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!
1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?
3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?
4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?

Hmm... that's interesting. I definitely think that there are some comic strips that express a certain philosophy brilliantly... Calvin and Hobbes was great for that... Opus too!

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?

I think that the appeal is probably to a generation of comic strips that were relatively simple and un-complicated in their approach. An approach that proved to be timeless, even when the comics themselves were running out of steam in the "funny" department.

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?
See above, re:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On the Other Hand...

So now, despite my glee at the election results, and the rush I still get when I think of Obama's acceptance speech, I feel like I have to say something about the aspects of this election that went badly.

Because frankly, my heart is broken.

Broken for gays and lesbians in California who have once again had their right to marry taken away.

Broken for gays and lesbians in Florida and Arizona, who have had the right to have their relationships recognized excluded from their own constitution.

Broken for gays and lesbians in Arkansas, who have been excluded from the state's newest legislation regarding the adoption of children.

But more generally, I am saddened that some segment of the population has taken it upon themselves to define what it will mean to be in a committed and loving relationship. That some segment of the population feels that it is their RIGHT or RESPONSIBILITY to tell other people that their relationships are somehow less valuable. And to insinuate, in the absolutely most ridiculous of terms, that their own relationships are somehow threatened by the love that two people feel for one another.

And you know what I hate the most about this? I hate the way it makes it sound as though straight people are perfect. As though straight people never do anything to damage the sanctity of marriage. As though straight people would always make perfect parents for a child in need of a home.

Because we all know that that is complete crap.

We all struggle. Most of us get more relationships wrong than we get right. We all have good parenting moments and bad parenting moments. And none of that has anything to do with our sexual orientation.

So to the people that voted to keep gays and lesbians from enjoying the same rights afforded to you I say, please get over yourselves. If you devoted even half of the energy that you have put towards this insanity towards loving your neighbour, the world would be a much, MUCH, better place.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And I'm Back

Landed in Prairie City early this afternoon after another uneventful travel day. Happy to see WH and the kittehs again and to have an afternoon to get re-settled at home and plan for the rest of the week, which includes a Chamber Choir dress rehearsal and concert.

WH is at a rehearsal this evening, and Mama Cat is asleep in my lap. Good to be home.

And the experience of witnessing the U.S. election last night? VERY cool. I did a lot of grinning.

Lovely things purchased in City with Lots of Roses:
-a black turtle neck, a black cardigan, a grey jacket
-a new pair of nylon-tipped tongs from Williams Sonoma, where I had to resist the urge to buy ONE. OF. EVERYTHING. Also bought a bottle of sauce. Resisted the table linens.
-a bottle of wine for our fancy-schmancy wine collection
-a couple of presents for CR, which I can't reveal because I haven't given them to her yet!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quick Check In

Hi all!

I'm in City with Lots of Roses, and things are going well so far! We had good travel experiences on both flights here (with the exception of a little bit of turbulence) and have spent our first day here getting familiar with the downtown and doing a little bit of shopping. I finally found the black cardigan I've been looking for all these months!

The hotel is just fine, and all the conference events are right in the hotel, so I never have far to go. I went to the pre-conference workshop today, and that was valuable, if not as interactive as I would have liked. I'm just about to head downstairs to the opening speaker and reception, and then the conference kicks off in earnest tomorrow morning!

Take care, all!