Thursday, January 12, 2012

A View From the Other Side...

NOTE:  For those of you who came over from Theme Thursday, I linked to the wrong post on my first attempt so I'm listed twice.  Oops!  Sorry for the confusion.

My daughter's Junior High winter band concert was last night.  I slipped into my seat right before the lights dimmed for the first band.  I was coming from rehearsals in the city.

As I watched Clara on the stage, in her white shirt, black pants and silver flute, I was immediately transported back to high school and my own band concerts.  I played flute as well.  Meaning I played the flute but I don't mean I played it well.

This is what my parents did, I thought to myself, twice a year.  They sat in the audience and listened to barely recognizable music played enthusiastically by a group of mediocre musicians.  Oh, there were a few great performers in my high school.  Those who went on to All-State bands, who understood what a tetrachord is and who had perfect pitch.  But for most of us?  Not so much.

In addition to these concerts, my parents also attended all of my school plays.  I think it actually qualifies them for sainthood.  Forget martyrdom, try 2 high school band concerts and 2 high school plays every year for 4 years.  And, supporting me every step of the way and putting up with my overly-dramatic self whenever I was starring in one of the plays.  I had a lot of delusions in high school:  I could play the flute, I could act.

Whereas my concerts were band and chorus (I never joined chorus.  I, at least, knew I couldn't sing), Clara's concert was only band.  Each grade played 3 songs (my high school band consisted of all the cacophonous grades mushed together) with a couple of smaller ensembles in between.  To be honest, I enjoyed it, even the Journey song that Clara's band played (I can't stand Journey, I won't go into it).  But maybe because I barely recognized the tune when performed by a hundred, earnest, 7th grade musicians.

And, I don't mean to belittle music programs.  I am thankful that my children have this opportunity to learn an instrument, learn to read music, learn how to play in time with other people, and how to behave at a concert.  Although I was a horrible flute player, I have never regretted learning the instrument.  What I do regret is giving up piano.  Another story though.  I just never realized how great my parents were to support me in an endeavor that I clearly was not cut out for.

I watched other parents last night videoing the concert.  I never thought about doing it but now, I kinda wish I had.  Not to watch now of course, but to save and show Clara years from now in case any of her kids take band.  But right now, I'm looking forward to more band concerts and who knows....maybe a school play.

A Theme Thursday Post

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chafing Words

We started rehearsals yesterday for Clybourne Park at Arden.  It's a new play by Bruce Norris, that won the 2011 Pulitzer.  It's about race, our attitudes toward race, territory, and so much more.  Clybourne Park is the fictional neighborhood that the Younger family wants to move into in A Raisin in the Sun.  Act One takes place in 1959, from the point of view of the white family selling the house.  Act Two takes place 50 years later (2009), and it's a white family that wants to move into the neighborhood which is now predominantly black.  I always make my descriptions sound boring but believe me, it's a great play.  And, it was a treat to have the Pulitzer Prize winning author in the room with us on the first day.

Anyway, in the play, one of the characters refers to her chafing dish (she's trying to give it to her black help).  One of the actors blurted out, "Can we not call it a chafing dish?  It just sounds so wrong!  Chafing, it's like jock itch."

Okay, so now you won't be able to use that word either.  Sorry.

It got me thinking about words that I just don't like.  There are some words that I hate to use and hate it when people use.  Here's my list:

Nestled:  It's supposed to sound cozy but it sounds prickly and pretentious.

Nibbled:  makes me think of a mouse, a gross mouse.  Not a delicate word

Nubby:  Honestly, I have no idea what this word means but people use it to describe fabric.  Not just any fabric, all sorts of fabric so I never know what they are talking about.

Apparently, all my words begin with "N."  Oh, I forgot  Utilize because I think people over-utilize the word.  Use words, just say use.

My daughter hates the word, Queer.  Not for it's meaning, just because she hates the sound of the word.

I use it all the time, now, of course.

Do you have any words that chafe?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The List of Lists

Has the list making stopped yet?  End of the year and the lists abound.  All sorts of lists:  top ten lists, New Year's Resolutions, what I accomplished in the past year, etc.  I read a great article in the New York Times about lists; it was in fact, a list about list making.  Throwing my hat into the ring, here's my lists of lists or what I make lists about:

According to the article, you can't just make a random list or an alphabetized one, you have to rank it because if you don't, then it's just lame (that's not  exactly what the author said, I'm just paraphrasing).

10.  Dinner List:  Every week, I sit down and make a list of what we are going to have for dinner that week and I HATE it.  It's so difficult to come up with 4-5 meals that are healthy, not hard to make, and easy to shop for. I leave a few days open so we can:  a) have leftovers b) eat out or c) just eat whatever.  Usually, all 3 happen in a week.  I hate making this list so much that sometimes I'm lay awake late on a Friday night thinking about dinner just to get a head start on this list.  If I can the dinner list done on Saturday afternoon, it makes my Sunday all that much better.  Have you heard of anything so lame?

9.  Props List:  So according to the article, the number 9 spot is reserved for the curveball; the one entry that no one is expecting.  I don't have that so I'm using the Props List as my #9.  It's a list of props used in my show, and where they need to go.  I'd love to expound but it's a props list, not much to say about it.  Except that (you knew it was coming) that I get rather anal about my props lists and while I want my ASM to prep it, I always end up redoing it.  It's not their fault, I was born this way.  Me and Lady Gaga, except she probably doesn't make props lists.

8.  Grocery List:  I almost hate this as much as the dinner list but once I've figured out dinner, this list is easy:  what do we need?  Do we have it?  Should I buy it?  Simple.  Right now though we are on an austerity budget after the holidays, so I need to be creative.  As goes Europe, so goes Kate.

7.  House List:  We recently made a list of house projects that need attending to as well as projects that we would like to see happen.  It's so depressing because every time I look at that list I just think, 'Well, there goes Paris.'

6.  Wines I Like:  I did start a list of wines I like because Pennsylvania has really screwed up Blue Laws and all the liquor stores are state run.  They say they have wine experts in most stores but I don't trust them. One employee tried to convince me that a $6 bottle of Shiraz was good.  I hate Shiraz and I can't imagine a $6 Shiraz being any good.  "Oh no," She said, "It doesn't taste like Shiraz."  Yeah, because it tastes like crap.

5.  Resolutions:  I do make resolutions although I don't always write them down.  I asked my family about resolutions and my son gave the best answer:  "No, not making any, I like my life just the way it is."  I so want to be him.  My resolutions are pretty normal:  be healthier, eat better, be nicer.  My friend said she wanted to accessorize more which gave me the idea that I want to dress better.  I constantly put on crappy clothes because I think, ah who's gonna see me?  But if I dressed better......then what?  I'm not sure but if putting out the effort, it better be good.

4.  The To Do List:  I can't make this number 1, even if it is the list that I write the most.  Who wants a to do list?  Who wants to do a to do list?  I have a friend who puts on her To Do List: "Cross off items on the To Do List" so she actually crosses something off.  And I thought I was anal.  If you like to do things, then you have a to do list.

3.  Books to Read:  I do keep a list of interesting books to read when I hear about them.  One of the things I love most about the internet is that I can request books from the library the minute I hear about them so they are actually keeping the list for me.  Usually, if it's a recently published book, it takes a while for it to get to me because everyone else is doing the same thing, which gives me time to finish (or ignore) the book I'm currently reading.  Did I mention my mother was a librarian?  I don't buy many books.  I keep my collection at the library.

2.  Movies to Watch:  You knew this was coming!  I like the Movies You Missed lists at the end of the year and I cut them out because, I don't know about you, but Hollywood is soooo predictable.

1.  Fantasy Island:  A mental list of what I would do with enough money:  Paris, cooking classes, a personal trainer, horse-back riding lessons, etc. etc. etc.  It's the best list of all.

So those are my lists?  I'm sure you have yours as well.  Please tell me about them but right now, I have to run.  A To Do list is calling although I'd much rather hear Tattoo's voice calling, "De Plane!"