Sunday, February 15, 2009

On Valentine's Day, my sweetheart took me to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has a subscription to the BSO for the "Symphony with a Twist" series. We saw them around Halloween use children's toys and paper bags as instruments. Once they performed the soundtrack for the Charlie Chaplain movie, "City Lights."

The BSO's conductor, Maestra Marin Alsop, is the first woman to conduct a major American orchestra. She's wonderful, as you'll see in the above clips. Yesterday's performance included some music that she had been tracking down for years. Alsop was intrigued by the pianist and composer James P. Johnson who wrote "The Charleston" and was renown for his "stride" piano techniques that made him one of Harlem's most famous pianists She found some of his surviving relatives and one of them had some of his music stashed in the attic. Alsop brought the music to us all last night. Can you imagine? It was a powerful piece entitled "Drums."

Yesterday's twist was Savion Glover, a world renown tap dancer, who accompanied several of the pieces. I wouldn't even say what he was doing was tap dancing so much as podiatric, paroxysmal, percussion. It was wonderful!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I love living in a time in America when everyone is saying the phrase "stimulus package." I always grin - and most often keep my comments to myself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So it was great to see Julie last weekend. I know I could have "shared" her with more people, but she was already subdivided with visiting her mom. So I'm a Julie hog. Sorry local friends.

To maximize our time, we took our moms out together. Julie's mom lives on the other side of DC. So we picked her up and went over to that new 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon. It is such a thoughtfully designed memorial. I had wished that there was a plaque explaining the symbolism of it all, but we did eventually figure it out. I'm sure it will be even more beautiful when the landscaping grows in.

The memorial has a bench for each person who died in the crash. Their name is engraved on the side of the bench. Underneath each bench is a stream. The names of any family members also killed in the crash are engraved on a plaque in the stream under the bench. This was more common among the passengers than the Pentagon victims. There appears to have been a family with two young children.

The benches are arranged by year of birth of the deceased. Also, if the bench is pointing toward the Pentagon, the person died there. If the bench points toward the Air Force memorial across the highway, they died on the plane.

It was very moving. I am so impressed with people who think of these details in their design.

Parking, however, is a major issue. I played the blonde card and just parked with the construction guys in an adjacent muddy field.

The next day, Julie & Mark & I went to a cool art museum in Baltimore that displays the works of artists who received no formal training. Some of the galleries were arranged by the artists' disease, like OCD art. There were autistic murals, bipolar mosaics, and schizophrenic paintings. It kind of made you think we shouldn't necessarily try to wipe out these "diseases." You couldn't take pictures inside, but here are a few from outside. It was very interesting. Mark posted about it too, so check out his pics & comments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So I was squeezing a run through a McDonald's drive-thru between a late audition for Alice in Wonderland and a science fair project assembly (due in the morning and my printer's all smeary!) I ordered myself a grilled Chipotle BBQ snack wrap, tea for Peggy, and sundaes for our girls in the back seat.

I rounded the corner as instructed and pulled up to the first window to pay when the clerk asked, "Do you know who you look like?"

Have you ever been asked that? Who do people tell you that you look like? When I was younger, I was pleased to hear Goldie Hawn. I haven't heard that in decades though. Someone told me I looked like a character on the show Boston Public, but I've never seen that show, so I didn't know if it was a compliment or not. I was wearing my rectangular, black-framed glasses that I wear especially for night driving, so I was running through who it might be when he said...

"You look like Michelle Obama."
"No one's ever said that to me before," I replied. I sat up taller, smiled, and said thank you.

I turned to Peggy and gave her a fist bump, told Malia and Sasha to settle down in the back seat, and decided that I must really buy a purple dress. I decided he meant that I looked powerful, or smart.

I drove away and unwrapped my snack wrap. It was crispy ranch. I wasn't surprised.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

My dear friend Julie is here for a visit. To prepare for her visit, I had to clean out the arts and crafts cabinet enough to clear off the dining room table so we could put out a jigsaw puzzle. I love jigsaw puzzles. They are a great conversation enhancer.

We have a few days, so I put out 1000 piece garden puzzle. But this time I have an added challenge I hadn't counted on: kittens. They think it is for them. And they like those pieces to be free and off the table. We've taken to putting a towel over the puzzle when we take a break. I've been down on the floor with a flashlight, fishing pieces out of the air register.