Monday, March 28, 2011

Parties & People & Other Stuff

Busy, busy week.

Several houseguests (F has been here for two weeks, and B is arriving tonight).

Last Friday we had a lab party at our house--I'm not sure what the head count was, as B and I arrived late from ballet class, but we're thinking 35-ish.

Saturday was the Voci retreat, held at the scenic Marin Headlands. While I was off singing, B and M had their usual Saturday activities, B went to a birthday party at 2:00, and DH & M went to another party at 5:00. I arrived home around 6:30, heated up some leftovers for F and myself, then took off at 7:00 to pick up B and take her to see the musical at the local high school (The Wizard of Oz)

Sunday was calm: laundry, groceries, catching up on stuff, actually reading the Sunday paper before midnight.

Today we spent a lot of time at the bank. Our kids have both had their own accounts for 5-6 years, so they can save up their allowances and birthday/Christmas gifts. After years of no fees, BofA suddenly started charging them each $12/month, which is a little ridiculous when you consider how much they get as an allowance! After much time at the bank, we were able to get their money transferred to new student accounts, which should be sufficient for their needs.

While I was at S&P rehearsal tonight, I got a long string of e-mails. B's best friend L has a birthday tomorrow, and no one remembered until tonight to organize a "shanghai"! Fortunately, another friend's mom was more on the ball than me, so we now have morning plans. I called B during my break to work out what time she wanted to get up tomorrow morning (since she would already be asleep by the time I got home tonight). Normally, DH does the early morning runs, but since he's off picking up someone at the airport right now, we agreed I would do the morning wake-up call. (Neither of us knew it would be an extra-early call when we made this agreement!)

Off to bed now, in hopes of getting some sleep between now and 6:20 am...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

En Garde!

Today M competed in his first fencing tournament. Yes, I know he's been taking classes for the last seven years, but until this year he wasn't interested in competing. Over the last couple of years, he's been participating at the in-house tournaments at his fencing school, and enjoying them, so he decided to try out a "real" competition.

DH and I both got up bright and early in order to get to San Francisco by 7:45 am (naturally, M's division was the first of the day, at 8:30). The tournament went pretty well. M achieved his goal of not finishing last: in his pool he lost three bouts and won two, then lost in the direct elimination. The silver lining to losing in the first round is that you get to go home early, instead of having to spend even more time sitting on a folding chair. Like any event of this type, there's a lot of time spent sitting around and waiting, punctuated by brief bursts of competition.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Only At ACDA

I spent four days last week attending the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Chicago. Lots of good music, too much to do in a short time, so I'm just posting a couple of random thoughts instead of a properly written post :-)
  • Only at ACDA does the Chicago Symphony Chorus get applause just for walking onto the stage. The applause continued until all 150 or so singers were in their seats, which made for very tired arms. At the end of the program, the chorus and chorusmaster got as much, if not more applause than the soloists.
  • For some reason, Sweelinck was the most popular composer this year--it seemed like every concert program (with four to five groups performing) had at least one of his pieces.
  • Choral directors are a tough audience to perform for, but extremely well behaved. No one clapped until the conductor dropped his/her arms, coughing was kept to a minimum, and no one tried to enter or leave the hall in the middle of a piece.
  • You have to love a worship service where they print the hymns in the program, indicating which verses are sung in unison and which in harmony, and the entire "congregation" sings in perfect four-part harmony where indicated. Also, there was a note during "O Come All Ye Faithful" indicating that all sopranos were welcome to sing the Willcocks descant (NOT printed in the program), and many of them did!
  • The conference ended on Saturday night, with Daylight Savings Time starting the following morning. Everyone was extremely concerned that no one miss their flights on Sunday morning: they started announcing it at the concert programs on Thursday, the hotel sent someone around to reprogram all of the alarm clocks, and the hotel also slipped a letter under the door giving instructions for an extra wakeup call. (For the record, my iPhone made the change without any trouble, and woke me up at the correct time the next morning.)
  • It's funny how your standards change at an event like this. Obviously, some choirs were better than others, but it's hard to remember that even the less-good ones are phenomenal groups that I would be happy to hear anywhere else.
That's all for today!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Electrical Mysteries

We purchased our Honda Odyssey in 2003, and it's been an extremely reliable car. It has had a few electrical quirks, which I understand are fairly common. About five years ago, the clock on the dashboard stopped lighting up. The clock kept time, but I couldn't read it at night. When we asked the dealership about it, we decided it wasn't worth the time and effort to removed the dashboard and investigage.

About a year ago, the clock suddenly lit up again! At the same time, the right-hand climate control knob (the one that controls the rear heat/AC) stopped lighting up, so we joked that there wasn't enough electricity to turn everything on at the same time.

On Wednesday night, as I was driving to Voci rehearsal, the car started to warm up, then about 1.5 miles from my house, the heater fan simply stopped. I tried turning everything off and back on, without any success. I turned the whole thing off, parked it for three hours while I was at rehearsal: still no fan. Now, since I live in California, I can get by without heat or AC most of the year, but I discovered the following night that the defroster was considerably more important: I spent a cold & rainy night driving with my window open so the windshield wouldn't keep fogging up.

Today we got the fan fixed (there's some power transmitter that often goes out). Lo and behold, everything on the dashboard now lights up properly!