Monday, August 27, 2007

No news [ain't] good news in reed land

No, I haven't written about the cane test results. That's because I still haven't gotten a sound out of the reeds yet. Grr. I blame it on the knives. Or possibly my knife sharpening skills, but we've already been through that. On day 2 of reeds #1, 2 and 3, I scraped a rough skeleton on each and took out more in the tip so they'd open up easily. In goes the plaque, off I go, scrape, scrape, scrape. I keep an eye on proportions and symmetry, and when the tip looks thin enough, I give the reed a peep. Or I attempt to. Maybe I just gouge my cane much thinner. In Colorado, I was gouging to .58-.59 (because of the altitude), and here I gouge to .60, a la Mack. Cooper, I remember reading once that you gouged to .62 or thicker? I can't remember. Scraping this oboe cane feels like scraping my English horn cane though. And with knives that won't "let" me get an edge, this is frustrating. It's like the cane is replacing itself after I scrape it off. That's some Harry Potter cane for you. So, no new reeds (yet).

I also haven't had time to shape the gouged-only cane yet. This week is getting busy, mainly with lovely domestic things. I'm hosting a bridal shower at my house on Thursday night, and a baby shower, also here, on September 15. In between, I've volunteered to make some desserts for my friend Tracy's wedding (hence the bridal shower), so I'd like to kill all three birds with one or two days of mass baking. Bake and freeze. The plan is: coconut dainties (a lovely crispy tea cookie dipped in sifted confectioner's sugar), nanaimo bars (only Canadians know what those are...pure heaven), lemon curd tartlets, baby cheesecakes, chocolate truffles...for the desserts. Goat cheese and leek tartets (if I can find either of those ingredients in a store around here...drawback to living in this area...), a fresh fruit plate for Thursday night, and either sangria or Asti and peach nectar for drinks (Thursday)...neither of which I can drink...everyone should just get water and be happy with it.

For Rachel's shower in a couple of weeks, I'm planning a red carpet theme. Now that baby Micah has been born, I can make the gender-specific invitations! I need to do that ASAP.

Both cars need oil changes, so that's on the list.

Before anything else though, I'm practicing the Paganini for Dave's recital. We had our first rehearsal last night, and our wonderful pianist (not being sarcastic), who only has boom-chucks, boom-chucked a little faster each time we restarted. I'd been struggling to get the whole piece under my fingers at quarter=126, and we were pushing 144 last night. I could barely hang on. I stepped in as the militant time-keeper a couple times, as the flutist and Dave (on soprano sax) had no problem moving their fingers that fast. Luckily, it's going to be my job to give the tempo at the recital. They've all decided that 136 should be a good final tempo, which makes me feel like I have to go relearn this piece. The recital is on September 12. I still don't have a few licks up to 126. Stressful. Dave said he was proud of me though and that he'd never heard me play so fast. (I even got rewarded with a Dairy Queen blizzard after rehearsal!) I've played more difficult pieces (hello, Koechlin Sonata), but pieces in this brilliante style (not to be confused with "brilliant") are so hard to pull off. Every little blip stands out. This is why I find the Mozart Concerto more difficult than the Strauss. Maybe it's just me. I'm not saying the Mozart is in brilliante style, but it does need to be so incredibly precise without sacraficing musicality. Anyway, I have to make sure to practice Paganini (not an oboistic piece!) every day. Priority 1.

I volunteered at the Iowa Wine Festival on Saturday night. I was put with another pregnant woman, so we got lots of comments like, "too bad for you," etc. Yeah, yeah. Guess what? I don't care that I can't drink right now! (Although I did have one French wine maker insisting that one or two glasses would not harm the baby!) I don't think of myself as a saint for politely refusing alcohol. It wasn't tempting to try any at all, although I tortured myself a little bit when one wine maker poured some for me to sniff. Sniffing wine is only part of tasting! I should have kept my nose far away. It smelled pretty darn good. Volunteering went very quickly. My friend (and adult piano student) even went and bought me an ice cream cone. Unfortunately, we had these bright yellow tee shirts to wear. Mine was XL to make sure it would fit. No problem. A medium probably would've still done the job. This shirt was practically down to my knees, the arm pits were a foot away from my own, and it succeeded in making me look not pregnant, but fat. Thank you very much.

We went to our second childbirth class yesterday, and as we were at the same hospital where Micah was born, we stopped in to visit the new parents and little guy. I won't post the pictures of Mommy and baby, as she might kill me, but here are a few pictures of Dave and I holding Micah, less than 24 hours old. Dave said I should make sure to post a giant label saying, "THIS IS NOT OUR BABY!" So, I've done it. Not that we'd mind if our child looked like this--he's beautiful!!

Finally, here's a picture of Dave on his first day back at school, today. Awww. Actually, I don't think classes start today (lucky for Kedron and Rachel, as Kedron teaches at Simpson, and they're bringing the baby home this afternoon), but the students all come in to schedule lessons and audition times for ensembles. Here's my handsome guy, all ready for the school year.

No pictures of me today, I'm afraid. I am in my pajamas, taking on the role of "stay-at-home-mom-to-be". Wow, this was a mammoth blog. Congratulations if you read the whole thing. And now, off to Paganini!!


Jill Cathey said...

I totally agree with you about the Mozart, haven't done any Paganini but it just isn't my thing! I'm much more of a Vaughn Williams kind-a girl. But I bet you will be great on the recital - good luck!

C.J. said...

I was gouging at .63 in the center with thin sides, but recently I've dropped my gouge down to .61