Monday, December 22, 2008

a few things

I love Christmas. And I love snow. And I love Saskatchewan. And I love being home and with my peeps. I love when the sighs are all heavy with happy and good food and wine and company.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

in answer to your catholic question

today is the third sunday of advent.
(AHHHHHHHHHHH! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)



at brunch this morning Travis asked why the advent candle for week three is pink instead of purple like the other ones. shamefully, none of us knew. so... wiki!

"Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word "rejoice." Gaudete Sunday anticipates the joy of the Christmas celebration, so its color is a mixture of Advent purple and Christmas white. It may also symbolize the color of early dawn."

now we know! although i have to say their colour theory is a bit weak. what happens when you add white to purple? you get pastel purple. NOT pink. sigh. the western christian church needs to go back to art school.

oh. and apparently the others are purple because purple represents royalty, and ol' j.c. is the prince o' peace. knowledge!

Friday, December 12, 2008

that jaunty sass

there are girls everywhere these days with their hats and toques balanced Just So. their fringe just peaks out stylishly. and it looks so casual. so easy. but whenever I try to wear hats in such a manner, one of two things tends to happen:

it slides over my eyebrows, getting hair in my eyes and leaving me looking decidedly tabogoney...
or
it slides right off the back of my head. staticky hair and a hat on the floor.

but. but... I have found a hat that if I try really hard, and hold rather still, stays where it should. yes. I'm thrilled. surely this is a sign that it is within my grasp to be so alloufly, fashionably hatted. with practice.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

yesterday's

drawings. that i was going to post earlier....

TADA! (there are more from today. but you'll have to just wait for those.)



cove park

i was going to show you the little drawings i have done since i arrived at this INSANELY AWESOME artist's retreat.
but i can't seem to get the pictures onto this computer... so. later for that.

meanwhile.
look up cove park on the internet machine.

it is kinda like the banff school meets candle lake by yourself in the winter, but all wrapped up in scottish. it is beautiful, and peaceful, and snowy, melty, icy, slushy, great. we're somewhere on the west coast of scotland, about an hour or so north of glasgow. every year the mfa drawing and painting program is generous enough to book this place for us for one week. as a sort of wind-down before christmas, good job getting your paper done (those of us who did...), think about this term, and smile lots.

i arrived tuesday afternoon after an adventurous day of travel with kathryn - the only second year to get her 9000 word paper handed in early and make it out here... there were three peeps who had made it out monday. justin, grazyna, and daniela.

so. five!

i'm living in one of the cubes. (there are cubes and pods, and i'll show you pictures later, and you'll smile and be happy.) the cubes are solo-accomodations, and the pods are shared. one of the pods (the 'girl's' pod) has become our sort of hangout-homebase. yesterday grazyna headed home to finish her paper, and the rest of us went for a stroll down, down, down the hill to the water. beautiful. awesome. grand.

then we went our separate ways for the afternoon. i spent a couple hours drawing the drawings i was GOING to show you. in my warm cozy cube. listening to music loudly and singing, and enjoying the view. then a group happy hour with the wine our program head, glen, sent along for us. (gerry, bettina, and thomas had arrived sometime in the afternoon. now. seven of us.)

i cooked us dinner (veg madras curry and rice) and justin invented a funny drawing game, kind of like the 'first line' novel game... kind of. basically we tried to draw the sumation of someone else in the program's artistic practice, and then we all guessed who it was... hilarious.

so much goodness. so little time. i'm off now to explore some more, and maybe spend some time with the piano in the hangout-pod.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a tiny thing

a children's charity asked if a few of us art-student-types would be willing to do a little tiny painting/drawing of a 'safe place' for them. they gave us little packets with paper and tiny pencil crayons. all very nice. the little works will be auctioned at a fundraising event.

so. i did this tiny little guy. (it's about 6" x 8")



technically this place doesn't exist anymore, but it'll always be a warm and cozy place in my memory. thanks to granny and gramps and the saskatchewan family. xoxo

Monday, November 24, 2008

the rockinest running playlist

the following is the ultimate awesome in current running good times rock outs. it has a bit of everything. you'll love it. in no particular order (because it is best on random, so you don't know what run-mood will come next!):

1. I'm so small - Fleming and John
(really solid pacing-beat and quality screamy-vocals.)
2. Massive Nights - The Hold Steady
(good sing-along rock-anthem feel, with some groovy bass.)
3. Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts - Wolf Parade
(just a really killer good song.)
4. One for the Cutters - The Hold Steady
(maybe a strange choice, but damn do i love some good harpsichord action!!)
5. Suddenly I see - KT Tunstall
(this one is especially good if you're a girl between the ages of 12 and 32, and you love fashion, and like to pretend you're in a movie montage... harken back the warm feeling you get every time you watch The Devil Wears Prada and the opening credits play, and you're filled with glee... yeah. you know. that feeling...)
6. Mercy - Duffy
(aside from the fact that a song that's all begging for mercy seems appropriate, also great for reminding us of the crazy-fit-awesomeness of s.y.t.y.c.d.d.d.)
7. Stay Positive - The Hold Steady
('it's a pretty good feeling... it feels pretty good.')
8. Cold Shoulder - Adele
(great drums. and chimes. chimes and drums. chums.)
9. You are a Runner and I am my Father's Son - Wolf Parade
(i think this one is obvious...)
10. American Boy (feat. Kanye West) - Estelle
(heck yes, we about to get down. and it's all about going places!)
11. Tired - Adele
(she says over and over how tired she is. but it's still all upbeat and whatnot. clever...)
12. Can't Stand Losing You - The Police
(nothing makes you wanna run like a song about killing yourself over a girl. and a lot of repetition. and it's a nice kind of mellow change up.)
13. Black Tongue - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(best-ever heavy drumming. more top-shelf screamy-vocals.)
14. Grounds for Divorce - Wolf Parade
(it's about pretending buses are whales, and that's just good times all around.)
15. Pass This On - Knife
(steel. drums.)
16. The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders - Sufjans Stevens
(clap along everybody!!! horns!!! and a good little cool-down, mellow section at the end.)
17. That's All I Know - Fleming and John
(best swing-style, heavy heavy drums. perfect for running uphill.)
18. Heartbeats - Knife
(remember the goodtimes with nightbeatz on the streetz? now get up and get moving!)
19. Poster of a Girl - Metric
(because whisper-singing in french and really driving drums make you go fast.)

don't forget to put it on shuffle. now get out there and run around!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a project for the project space.



each student in the mfa program (both years) gets this little square of a false-room for one week of term. they are asked to create a piece of art specially for this space, and only in that week. you follow? good. the week always starts on a wednesday, and culminates the following tuesday at 1:15pm, when the whole class, and a few tutors gather and critique the project. then you take it all down, and the next person starts. etc.

this week was my week. i'm done now. thankfully. the setup and pre-art-work took a good amount of time, and so my drawing began on friday night. sigh. my goal was to produce 8 portraits of peeps from back home. a sort of nostalgia, memory work. oh. and each portrait was life-sized, and combined with a liquid suitable to the individual. (i could go on about the concept, especially after the nearly two hour conversation/crit yesterday, but i won't. i'll just let you take a look at it instead.)

you should know that spending three days trapped in the tiny box of a room, with eight of my home-slices, for approx. 7 hours a day (with no leaving allowed, exept for loo-breaks), makes a person a bit mental. but it was a nice thing spending time with those i was drawing, and thinking about home. the family/memory thing was made especially relevant and poignant when news arrived on sunday that my Granny Old had passed away. it was good to be surrounded by loved ones, even if they were made of paper.









and then i got to take it all down!!! and cut everyone's legs off. and play with the liquids...





Saturday, November 15, 2008

sorry.

the week got kinda crazy. and i didn't do miny paintings thursday or friday. for shame. i promise to make it up next week, once my project space is out of the way... promise. sorry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

no. 4

sooo... this one isn't very good. not very good at all. the goal? thick paint. the result? unfortunate.


BUT! i kinda like how it looks from the side, like this:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

tiny things

one of my profs suggested i try working in acrylic. i know. shocking. but i'm here to listen and learn, right?

then my name tutor suggested i do some fast little paintings to help me figure out what i want to do to my big paintings. less precious and stuff.

SO!
combine the two? and you get small fast acrylic paintings! i've decided to try to paint one every studio day (so not saturday and sunday) until i learn something. it's all very exciting, not knowing what you're trying to learn, and being scared of your medium, and so on and so on. today is DAY ONE. here's the first one!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the latest

say it with me everyone: 'moodle is LAMETOWN!'

good job!

anyways. meanwhile. here's the latest update in painting town. melanie marlin, your face has been a struggle... but i think it is coming along now.




see if you can figure out what still needs doing! FUN GAMES!

Friday, October 31, 2008

hey! you want some pineapple?



(quick intake of air demonstrating SHOCK!)


it's a TRICK!
happy halloween everyone!

xoooooooooooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOooooooooooo

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a-scary paint day to make you a-scare!

in honour of the upcoming holiday we know as 'halloween' today i painted with the DEAD PALETE! ooooooooo. ghostly!

the dead palate is a fantastic set of colours tessa taught us about in undergrad. i forgot about it for a long time... or ignored it? well. i haven't used it all on its own like this in ages.

you start with three colours - blue-black, transparent red oxide, and transparent yellow oxide. (they're earth colours.)
mix each with the other in various combinations of goodness:



then tint each one (add white) to various levels. (i like to use two different whites - flake (warm) and zinc (cool).)



tada! a fantastically colourful-grey palate for your painting enjoyment! at this point i recommend taking a break to relax your hand after all that careful cautious mixing. stare at your palate and think about how awesome it is. then. PAINT!



good job!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

blogging against nudity?

i painted a really terrible painting today. it was my first time in front of a model in YEARS! ooof. no good. no good at all.


but don't worry. i'll get better again. don't worry. (i'm not.)


MEANWHILE! AT THE STUDIO!

here's the latest painting paint-town that i've done. except one. i didn't put it in because it looks scary right now. like. really scary. but it won't forever, and then you can see it, i promise.





ALSO. today was project space day. which means we all get together in a room and talk about one person's project - which they've had a week to work on. often these are installation based. well the painting one wasn't my favorite ever (linked to john cage, and thus an INSTANT turn off for me...) but, BUT the sculptors had their first. and. it was great. it was HEATHER'S. she's form canada. she knows brenda drainey and therefore is pretty cool already. her installation/sculpture was really awesome, but best of all was the FREE GIN AND JUS we got after! yes. i love grad school. and it was REALLY good gin. hendrick's. i recommend it completely. go drink some now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

actually, for real?

genie pants. they were hecka-big on the runway this season. but i never thought people would actually wear them. i mean. really. not actually. some runway trends are just for the runway and that is that.



but no! people ARE wearing them! low crotches, tight ankles, baggy-bagness. lots of people. everywhere in edinburgh. i see at least one set of genie pants a day. for real.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

hey guys! great news!

i can still draw!

i will confess that one of my greatest fears since i began using the projector regularly is that i will forget (or worse yet: have already forgotten) how to draw. for reals scary. and since getting accepted to study at a graduate level i kept thinking to myself 'what if...' i mean, sure i can do what i want to do WITHOUT drawing. but. BUT. wouldn't i be a bit of a fraud then? and i could draw before, but i had to work at it... so is it a skill that you keep, like riding a bike, or d you lose it? like... marbles?

well. earlier this week, while trying to get the projector debacle sorted (quick recap: everyone i asked about an 'opaque projector' looked at me as if i was crazy. i panicked. asked how i would print onto transparencies then, if that was my only option and was told we don't have the facilities to do that here... ahem. panic.) i figured i should do SOMETHING besides sit around and stare in a terrified sort of way. so i started a little painting. drawn by hand.

and. the drawing sucked. it sucked several times over. i flipped the board around, and it still sucked. i started to paint anyways - feeling incredibly disappointed in myself. but then. THEN! as i painted i reworked the drawing , little by little... and today i went in with a pencil on TOP of the paint, and drew in the detail-stuff. and then painted some more.

and SHOCK! ALARM! it is WORKING! it is on the correct path!

check it OUT! (a detail of it...)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i am a painter with paintings to paint



you can't really see them because they're so faint and made of pencil... but on those canvases there are drawings. drawings for real paintings which i am going to start TODAY! ahhhhhhhhhhhh! weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

from the comforts of one's own home



yesterday i slept in a bit more than i should have. since the school hours are limited on the weekends, you have to be in before 2pm. i wasn't prepared by 2 to be in public, so instead i decided to work from home. and in my tiny apartment, where there is no desk, and where i like to keep the heating to a minimum, the only place big and warm enough for me was the bed.

i did thought webs with terms i want to further research and understand, organized my finances for the week, listened to good brain-stimulating music, and ate the occasional piece of chocolate. it was a fine fine saturday. and i never even had to put on proper clothes.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the computer machine.

i'm at school! i'm in my studio! there's INTERNET here and it is WORKING on MY computer!!!

yeah. i'm excited. me and my computer have been a bit sad lately due to its lack of interneting abilities. it makes a computer feel sad, it does.

but now we're happy. thrilled! so, without further ado- here are some pictures of my flat! yes, this is ACTUALLY what it looks like on average: clean. i know. i'm as surprised as you are. enjoy! i do.




Saturday, September 27, 2008

iPhone

I'm writing this on my phone. Awesome. I apologize for the capitals. It likes to do that.

Yesterday I spent two very fine hours in the steriotypically dingy-dark SU bar. The prof who was supposed to show up and tell us about cvcs didn't. Show. But instead I hung out with a group of my fellow MFAs, of both years. I made friends! I got mobile phone numbers! I learned a bit more about my program.

Today, despite being there more than half an hour early, I did not beat the line up at the bike station. I was about 7spots from the front when they ran out of bikes. Sigh. Maybe next week...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the class

technically i'm in school now! i'm a student. a POSTGRADUATE student no less. very exciting.

this afternoon we had our first painting & drawing department meeting. the painting & drawing school includes the printmakers, intermedia, tappistry, and (of course) painting and drawing. there's 25 of us in the two years. and a very multi-cultural group. i'm the only canadian in the bunch. there are four (i think) U.S. peeps in their second year, and one in first. a very small handful of proper scots. a girl and a guy from norway. fellow from taiwan. lady from sweden? and a bunch a can't remember... basically lots and lots of accents.

we learned about our course. basically there's a LOT of studio time, and the occasional other scheduled things... a weekly course called 'CORE' which sounds like a 'how to' for research, professional practice, etc. etc. and some sort of theory thing on fridays. and painting and painting and painting...
unfortunately, unlike in edmo-town, we do not have 24 hour access to the studios. i think they close at 11pm on weekdays, and something silly like 4pm on weekends. that'll be an adjustment for sures.

we were assigned our studios. i'm in F7, 17. in case you're ever wandering through... the studios are nice and bright, with lots of windows and high roofs. basically they're largish rooms, divided into four (with those standard makeshift walls that studios love to sumch), and then each quarter is shared by two individuals. i share my space with a girl named daniella. she's from chile. i believe she said she was doing intermedia. her husband is a phD student somewhere not too far away. she's been in scotland for a year. she says her work is rather small. that's good. the studios aren't SMALL, but they certianly wouldn't be classified as large. by any means. ours has a sink in. awesome.

and now, NOW? i'm not quite sure what to do with myself for the rest of the day. i'm hungry to get started, but can't really do much until i've bought wood, and built some stretchers, and the school isn't in 'working hours' yet, so i understand the woodshop is closed for the day already. sigh. what to do? plan, i guess. plan and plan and get excited.

i am. excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008

shhhh.

don't tell anyone. but i seem to be getting free internet from this cafe... shhh!

i bought two hours worth the other day. they give you a little paper with a number on it. you give it a password, then you can sign out and in again as you like. i used up 40 minutes or so. then i came back and took my total remaining down to 48 minutes. sigh. but then. THEN! i came back again. and when i signed in my countdown clock read 1hr22min. what? umm.... shhh. okay. that was yesterday. i used up some time.

today. guess how many minutes i had when i signed in? 82 is how many. a.k.a. 1hr22min. again!

i don't get it. but i certainly will not inquire into the glitch. awesome-pants-town-face!

oh, and the other day i found £2 in a phonebooth.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the flat

i will post pictures soon. i promise. once i can get my computer and the internet to be friends...

meanwhile, this blog seems to be turning into the 'people who are nice' blog. today: the mardale guest house and my new landlord.

when i found out that i was getting my flat on saturday i was super-pumped, but also a touch nervous. my booking at the mardale only took me as far as thursday night (checkout by 10 on friday...) and it was already thursday afternoon. trouble. so. i sent the good folks at mardale a quick email saying i'd chat with them once i'd returned that evening, but might they be able to keep me for one more night, please please please? i remembered that when booking online they had not had vacancies beyond my three nights, but i hoped.

when i returned later that day owner dougie and his wife popped out of their suite as i entered. hi hi! all very friendly. they explained that they had received my email, and hadn't planned on having anyone in the hotel over the weekend. they had a family wedding (their eldest daughter, i believe) on friday. they had much to do, and so on. but, BUT, they'd be more than happy to have me stay the night all the same. they very very sorry to say they couldn't promise me breakfast on saturday morning, because, well... wedding the night before. didn't actually require any explanation. yay! so i settled up my bill after breakfast on friday morning, and wished them well with the wedding. that night i came home to a fully tidied room. (they really didn't have to. i'm sure they had planned not to deal with hotel stuff at all that day, and lord knows i can stay in the same room two nights in a row without needing things refreshed.) they also left a little breakfast - granola bar and banana, along with the daily provided shortbread biscuits. all very thoughtful. so. if you're ever in town. you should stay with them. they're great. thanks dougie and wife (sorry i never learned you name...)

and my landlord(s). technically jim is my landlord, but his sister handles a lot of the house stuff, too, and was the one who showed me the flat. they had arranged two (two!) big bouquets of lilys in the windows for my arrival. and. a loaf of bread. half pint of milk. butter. packet of tea. (actually two packets. one caffeine free.) box of biscuits. sugar. and a brand new, still in the packet set of bedding. sigh. i'm waiting for the horrible landlords i hear about all the time. i'm waiting and i'm scared. because i've had two years in a row of awesome landlords, and before that uncle peter who we can't really call a landlord, but was great to rent from for sure... it just seems too good. but i won't complain.

the bike station was also full of nice people. but sadly not full of (available) bikes. i didn't get there till about 11:20am, and they open at 10:30. seems you have to be there around 10 to get a decent place in the que, to allow for any option at all... next week i will be there by 9:30. just to be sure. because man i have the most sore of shankles from all this walking.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

nice-itis

edinburghites (edinburghians? edinburghers?) are suffering from an epidemic of niceness. i suspected as much when i was last here, but my day yesterday confirmed it. everyone is nice. or kind. or cordial. sometimes all three, even!

O2 employees? nice. bankers? nice. construction workers? nice. cats? nice! (one even followed me, purring, for two blocks.) gruff looking men cleaning their apratment window? nice.

and so on and so on.

i actually have not encountered one person who hasn't been nice. not one. which is both shocking and delightful.

oh. and i have a flat. as of saturday. yes. i do. hoooray!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the rain and snow

no. there's no snow. just joking! about the snow...

i am in edinburgh in the very same internet cafe i did all my email-etc.ing from when i was last here. i found it right away with no problems. i knew i would.

the flights went very very well - except for a bit of a delay leaving london there were no problems at all. my luggage arrived. both peices. in just the same shape as they left me. yay! i spoke with a very friendly and helpful young lady at the 'shuttle' booth, and she recommended i take the bus (cheapest) into edinburgh centre, and even pointed out on a map where i'd want to go from there. about a 5 minute walk, she said.

it was raining, but not very hard, when i got off the bus at wayverly station. i consulted the map i'd been given and started off with my some 115 lbs of luggage. as i suspected the walk was not at all five minutes, but rather closer to 30. no worry, though. it was a very fine walk and there were tons of people on the street. i only saw two chavs (i believe they call them 'neds' here) but they were immediately followed by a group of four very stylishly dressed young women, all smiling, and lauging.

sigh. when i arrived where i had been told my 'guest house' would be, though, it wasn't. there. not there. there was the youth hostel instead. another consultation to the map (and a comparisson with the map i'd printed and showed the shuttle girl with the hotel address on) showed that she had sent me in exactly the wrong direction. it was probably a good hour and a half walk - without luggage - back to where i should be. sigh. i took a cab.

home! at least for now. the hotel is warm, and friendly, and wee. i got settled and forced myself to stay up until 9:42pm. then to bed.

and now i'm out of internet time...

Monday, September 15, 2008

hold steady

i am at the airport at my gate with just a little less than an hour till boarding.

they didn't even weigh my luggage. after all that. so. that counts as a definite point towards awesome-town.
and they went through both my carry-ons very carefully, but they didn't mention either the size or the weight. they were very nice. the lady was very impressed with my ability to fill EVERY spare space with socks. she couldn't get it all back in. i showed her. but not in that 'i showed YOU!' way. not like that.

i've had a muffin from starbucks (thanks mom and dad) which has mostly stopped the swirly-ness of the stomach caused by too much coffee and too much excitement and too many nerves. i was shaking and shaking while i ate. but that seems to have stopped.

i'm listening to the hold steady. stay positive... i do not think listening to emma's playlists right this moment is a good plan. i will wait for the plane. somehow crying on a plane is easier than crying in the boarding zone. along with the sappy movies and the free wine. yes. YES!

bye edmonton. thanks for the good times. i'll see you at grimas!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

don't panic

this is easier said than done. the not panic thing. but with only 5 days left in the edmo-town, things are not, actually, so out of hand. my emotions are. but 'things'... alright!

today my passport returned to me complete with its shiny new student-visa-sticker. and. AND. it came through with permission to work. there's no reason why it shouldn't have, except that things don't tend to go smoothly when you absolutely need them too.. so. hoorays all around.

now, once i've finished that last commission, and gotten paid for the last of my design work with josh i am GOOD TO GO!

except for the packing. and the weighing of weighty suitcases.

and the finding a place to live.

and the becoming a MASTER.

sigh.

welcome back, the irish diet readers!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

santana

santana is playin in our hostel lobby. the music here has been diverse. from hard had metal to peter paul and mary, and pretty much everything in between. oh, berlin!

berlin. our first real day in berlin we rose at a reasonable hour, not too early and not too late, and breakfasted here in the hostel lobby. not half bad for three euro. then a wander to alexanderplatz, a fairly busy and hip part of berlin. we grocery shopped and wandered. natalya found shoes for her mom. it was lovely. we sat and snacked while watching a man make giant bubbles in the middle of hackeshermarket. those same bubbles were chased and popped by two small small boys with that small small boy sort of unbalanced run.

at three we stood at the appropriate place to go on a walking tour. our guide was heather. we loved heather. HEATHER! WE LOVE YOU! heather was and is a young girl from pennsylvania with a masters in german history who has fallen in love with berlin, and now lives here in between masters and phd years. she is rosy-cheeked and has a mouth that reminds me of alison pelensky's. the tour was somewhere around 3 and a half hours, and we saw many important berlin sights including checkpoint charlie, the wall, the reichtstad, etc. heather was wonderful and knew lots. natalya and i spent a lot of time up front with her while we walked asking her questions about moving to europe, property in berlin, her favorite berliner habits, etc. can't say it enough. heather was great. we asked her, near the end of the tour, where she would recommend we eat, and she told us of her favorite restaurant which happened to be very near our home base. perfect! we were right tuckered and hungry by the time we sat down in the cute litte (fairly packed) restaurant. our waitress was small and had very finely toned arms. we ordered two pints. we ordered two entrees, both heather's suggestions, and shared the two. the food arrived. we didn't say much for about 4 minutes. then the food was gone, and we could talk again. it. was. awesome. we were full. oooof. still, we figured we hadn't done much eating out, so we had best do it right. so we ordered a coffee panacotta and a bottle of sparklin wine. we left so full we could hardly breathe. back at the hostel we decided to have one more beer before bed. we chatted and laughed, and when i went to the washroom natalya got us jagermeiser shots. Oh! Jokes!

we were attempting to take a self protrait photo of us with the shots, a girl came along and offered to take it for us, and ould we like to join her at her table. she gestures to the table behind us with many a young person with beer. we do join them. they are mostly canadians. a few australians. let's see how many names i can remember!

lindsey. boy. from clagary. living in montreal. very nice fellow.
mike. from montreal. with his girfriend. who's name i can't remember.
brett and brennan. australians. funny boys. a bit young and uncouth, but harmless. brett is being stalked by a young german girl. he is terrified. it is funny.
chris. oh, dear young thing! british. very nice fellow too. he and brett tried to explain cricket to me.
kirk. toronto i think? or something like that.
erin. girl. australian. kind eyes and smile.

that's all of them i think. we hung out and drank and laughed, and agan were fast friends in the way you are in a hostel. a group of them are sitting just to my right as i right this. brett has just run away to hide as the german girl is wandering about. funny.

next day! again a reasonable get up. not too early not too late. two boys from australian have taken up the empty beds in our room, and we meet them at breakfast, and they decide to join us on our trek out to the concentration camp north of the city. they are tim and adam. tim makes swimming pools and adam makes jewelery. he is apprentacing and everything. they are friendly and nice and we are happy to have them along on the 45 minute s bahn ride. there are many jokes.

we also encounter a british couple who have seen more of both canada and australia than the four of us combined. they help us not miss our train switch. we like them.

it is hot and blustery when we reach the camp. we are thirsty and tired. which seems appropriate, and feel guilty even thinking about complaining about it. we get the personal audio guides and spend the next few hours walking the grounds and looking and thinking. it is a difficult experience, but a good one. i am glad and quite exhausted when we leave.

after a rest and a clean up we head for the deustche oper berlin. a newish work is being performed. sung in german. subtitled in german.

where do i begin to explain this opera? well. first off. i haven't got even the smallest incling as to what it was about. sometimes i would come up with something that seemed rather reasonable, but then theyd throw in something completely insane, and i'd be lost again. it was certainly visually stunning though. breakdown:

NO! i only have 5 minutes of internet left. this will have to wait!!!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

train train train

good morning, sunny berlin! aren't you looking fine today!

when we left france it was raining lightly. we had an early morning train, taking most of the day, with two transfers, and arrived in munchen/munich some time around 7pm. it was not quite raining, but not quite not raining either. still, the city seemed welcoming and we decided rather quickly that we would like it. this decision was aided by a sign in the tourist infor office window which read:

'munich loves you'

aww, munich! aren't you sweet!

we wandered to our hostel, where we were told that there would be a beer tasting very shortly at the bar, ad we would be welcome to join. handy timing, us! so we unloaded in our room (meeting the first of our roomies, a brit named michelle) then headed down. there were twelve people (us included) at this tasting, plus our completely charming and wide-eyed bar tender. we made fast friends with them all. two fellows from la, chane and carrey. two boys from wisconsin, aaron and tom. two british girls, michelle our roomate, and natalie. an australian chap, owen. an american girl from an undisclosed state, nicole. and a couple who's names i never was told. we sampled three beers. a lager, a weissbier (wheat beer) and something not quite stout. all lovely. the middle was my favorite. then our new friends of the bar informed us that they were all headed to some massive german bar with much beer, and wondered if we would like to join? we would. so we did! the bundle of us wandered into the munich night.

the bar was huge. massive. all long tables of heavy wood. there was an oompa band. with a concert harp in. seriously! most of the servers wore collar shirts with vests, but some wore leiderhosen (?). we sat in the garden. it was rather packed, but we managed to jam ourselves around an empty table. a waiter came by and said

'beer? how many?'

to which we replied 'twelve!', and off he went. no size or type choice. just. beer. a short while later a man came carrying all twelve beer himself, six to a hand. i should say that these beers were not your average pint-sized beers. nay. that would've been a tricky enough carry. but instead. they were 1 litre mugs. made thick enough that a very drunken bundle of tourists could smash them together shouting 'PROUST!' and sloshing beer every which way and not break them. it was impressive. this man. these twelve mugs... we made him stand holding them as we took photos.

social times! singing! making friends with other groups in the garden! running into two girls from mads... really? yes!

we had two rounds of these insane beers and then stumbled our way home. everyone in the group made it home safely. all is well!

the next morning we slept in a smidge, getting out of the hostel just before 10. it was raining. oh, munich, you said you loved us! we found our way to a little modern art gallery, the name of which i keep forgetting. some very interesting stuff including a video about the 1972 olympics. then we figured out the underground and tram system enough to find the nymphenburgh palace: birthplace of king ludwig the 2nd. it was quite spectacular. there was the palace itself, which was not SO huge, as far as palaces go, and then there were the grounds. the park. a huge expance of green with rivers and lakes, and gardens and forrests, and some truly amazing trees. i decided, while wandering along the cold rainy paths, that of all plant life, trees are my favorites. trees win! and there were a series of small buildings around the grounds. a bathing hall. a pagodaburgh we decided was sort of the glamourous answer to the tree house. a funny little chapel made to look like a ruin.

HIGHLIGHT! in the chapel there was a side wing which had very fine old floors. and to walk on these floors you had to put on these MASSIVE slippers, over your shoes. and then the floor was uber slippery, and we had a lovely time of it! oh, we loved it very much.

we spent a good few hours wandering the grounds and buildings. we were a bit on the freezing side by the time we left, and very hungry. we bought cheese pretzels in the underground station on the way home, and it might have been the best thing either of us had ever tasted.

bought groveries. made a very fine stir fry in the hostel's tiny kitchen. ate alongside a very friendly and talkative australian woman and her eight year old daughter. then went to the lobby and ran into owen (the australian) and a fellow from toronto. we used the torontoite's computer for internet, and hung out for a while, then called it a night. we were right tuckered.

got up ealry the next morning, and packed and checked out. attempted to see st. peter's cathedral before catching our train, but there was a service going on so we looked around a swaroski crystal shop instead. then back on the train for a five and a half hour direct ride.

we sat next to an elderly german couple who spoke some english, and we chatted with them for a good portion of the ride. they were very kind and funny, and from lepzig. they pointed things out on the landscape worth seeing.

OH! back in time... highlight from the train into munich. in some small town we passed through there was a huntertwasser building at the top of a hill. i grinned for the next hour.

we arrived in berlin to sunshine! berlin! you charming devil! we walked to our hostel and got settled, then checked the email from iain gillis of 'shows worth seeing in berlin'. and lo, there was one on that very night! it was 6:49, and the concert began at 8, so we ran like crazy pants to get ourselves in order, and trained our way to postdamerplatz. there we found ourselves in a lovely square with the sony centre and many other impressive buildings. the berliner philharmonie (our destiation)was not far off and we found it without too much trouble. the concert was a string quartet playing debussy and ravel, and then they added in a pianist and solo violin for some chausson. lots of tickets left. hoooray!

no dinner, (or lunch really) so we turned once again to the pretzel to save us. and it did. blessed pretzel. these ones had butter in. they were brilliant.

and so was the hall. stunning building. the stage itself is in the round. all beachwood chairs. no bad seats in the place. beautiful light. beautiful accoustic. the quartet was charming and lovely. three men and one woman. each very much the type of instrumentalist they ought to be... the first violinist very much a first violinist, etc. the woman was the violist. she wore green. they played beautifully. the third movement of the debussy made the hair on my arms stand on end. the audience was shockingly still and quiet. it was a spectacular concert. the kind that makes me want to o home and play viola all night long.

during the intermission we had champagne. we moved up a bit closer to the stage.

the pianist was very much a pianist with bouncing wirey white hair. his page turner, a woman, matched him.

we trained and walked home very tired and very hungry, but had no luck finding takeaway food. so we went to bed instead. natalya blew a fuse in our room, but it wasn't her fault. she simply turned on her beadside lamp. apparently it sort of exploded. i was in the washroom. i missed it. in our room there is only one other girl right now. jennifer. from the states, but she lives in paris. she works as some sort of design scout or something. she is here on business.

today we are off on a walking tour in the afternoon, and something this morning, although we don't know just what yet. but we've been fed and coffeed, so we're ready for the new day and its adventures.

and it is sunny. and that is a very very nice thing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Only (the) Lyon(ely)

day two in lyon. the redeemer day. you did good, lyon. you did good.

highlight the first. the funicular (le funiculaire). you know. the tram-like vehicle which goes uphill on a cable-system? yes. that. awesome! i loved it. i giggled lots, and natalya said she was happy i was so excited... she didnt say she was embarassed by my excitement which was kind.

lowlight. magnesium water. don't. just don't.

at the top of the funicular we wandered until we found the roman theatre. lovely. they seem to use it for actual shows now. there were proper lights and everything. it was raining, but only lightly. there were many stairs. wandering out of the theatre-area there were herbs growing wild along the streets. all kinds. lemon verbena. rosemary. much much more. we pressed leaves between our fingers and identified, and were happy. this is all at the top of a hill. we walked down the hill by way of an amazing nature path. all trees and flowers and lovelyness and views of lyon. really inclredibly stunning. we found maple leaves. we found a statue of jesus.

highlight! a walkway all arched-over with roses and other wild flowers. while the bells from the stately basilica chimed noon. for nearly a half hour. truly beautiful and moving.

highlight! the grotto... wait for photos of same.

once at the bottom of the hill we went looking for a loo. we wandered into a building with signs leading to an 'exhibition'. and what should we find? a loo! and... an art show! local artists. something, i imagine, like harcourt house, but generally better quality. impressive, in fact. especially the sculpture. some of it was quite remarkable, and i really would have loved to take some home with me. i took photos instead.

then along the rĂ´ne river. a small gathering of stalls selling artisan pottery and jewellery. there was one man with knit stuffed animals that were insanely cute. i got very excited, and the man, along with his friends at the next stall, was greatly entertained by my enthusiasm. they laughed in their lovely french way.

we encountered two young men who asked us if we were british. they, it turns out, were american. from virginia to be exact. very nice and polite. they had apparently travelled quite a bit in canada, including calgary. we told them how to get to the funicular to see the roman theatre.

across to the otehr side of the river, we wandered through the sunday market right before they closed up.

highlight. a very french looking girl (in hammer pants) smelling a melon in a remarkably dignafied and graceful way.

highlight. a man trying desperately to sell us a roast chicken. natalya was tempted. very very tempted.

then to la place bellcour (a square) then back to the hotel for a rest break. all this before three in the afternoon.

we read and we napped. then out for a leisurely dinner on la rue victor hugo. outside. with the smoking french. and a bottle of very nice wine. and a desert of creme brulee (natalya) and creme caramel (me). a quick strole to aid digestion, and now home to the hotel. we leave early early tomorrow for munich.

and i have decided i very much like lyon. i am glad we came. very. the people are incredibly kind. friendly. they laugh with us as we struggle with the language, and they are patient and helpful. the air smells (usually) fragrant and soft. it is gently warm or gently rainy. it is, en fin, very nice. and i have nejoyed it very much. and now off to scary germany, where we do not speak the language, and we plan to drink beer in gardens!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Comedie Francais

remember in junior high when you had to read moliere, and it wasn't funny. (remember when i couldn't find the question mark on this french computer.) anyways. we'll come back to the moliere thing in a bit.

RECAP! after leaving ireland, i met up with harry in london town. we went to a very school show called skin and bones, which was architecture and fashion together at last! then to his flat, where his flat mates (one of whom had borrowed his key) didn't let us in, so we went and had curry and cold ones down the way. it was beautiful and hot, and i was happy.

that night at harry's was leggy-soup. or. a big big party. we hid in his room, drank champagne, and watched things like the 90 strangest crimes. it was good. outside the room was much loudness.

then. the next day. NATALYA ARRIVED!!! YAY!! things are good. she and i travel to tooting to pick up my luggage, and have lunch with harry. he teaches her about shaggy dog stories. we (less harry, who had much editing to do before monday) travel to trefalgar square where we meet up with melanie, justin, and his sister. it is still beautiful and hot. we are happy. we go to the portrait gallery. YAY! justin and his sister depart, natalya, mel and i head for patricks. the squat.

see patrick. get settled. buy crisps. plan on going out. get too tired. fall asleep on the floor of scott's (one of the squaters, a very polite fellow) floor, as there's a footie game on that has to be watched in the living room.

next day. emma comes to town. we (the ladies) meet her at paddington in the coral cafe, which is no longer the coral cafe. (and is certainly not, nor never was the choral cafe.) we go to primark. there is MADNESS! there are MANY PEOPLE, and even more STEALS OF DEALS! we do not change in the chagerooms, because of the ques, and instead try things on over our clothes in the middle of the store. risky business, but we all do rather well. i spend the least. YAY ME!

emma joins us for crisps at the squat. we change into our new clothes. emma goes to do her recording gig. mel, natalya and i take a bottle of wine and head for our pre-lord of the rings dinner. (the wine is because mel has learned that we can drink on the tube, and wants to. because we're dressed up and classy, and that is funny. we do not drink on the tube because it is fairly busy, and we feel awkward.) we find the restaurant in plenty of time, and sit in a park drinking the wine on the grass in the shade. it is lovely AND charming. we eat. we go see lord of the rings. it is funny. it is big. an orc growls at me from the edge of the row. i am scared, and don't want him to attack, so i growl back. yes. i bear my teeth at the orc. he attacks someone else. i win! we go to a pub (shakespear's head) and patrick joins us. back to the squat where we sleep in the living room as planned.

next day! mel leaves us early to fly off to venice. BYE MEL! WE MISS YOU! natalya and i pack up early and leave the squat. we walk the embankement a while, then do a fast run-through of the tate modern. good job, us! we meet emma at paddington. we train to bath.

BATH! bath is great. let's break it down quickly. this is running on.

hills. spa. teka. the cedar. (bristol.) bikes. canal path. swimming. curry. pie minister pies. pub quiz. fun!

we leave bath at 4:30am on the 16th. we bus to heathrow, then to stanstead. we fly to grenoble. we eat lunch. our waiter tells us he loves us. we see a lot of proper hobos all with dogs. one of them (the hobos, not the dogs) pees on a tree. we train to lyon. find our hotel. tada! lyon! hello! bonjour!

and that brings us to today. saturday. a proper lyon day! we learned, through our reading of maps and guide books from the hotel, that lyon is a major silk producer. cool!

this morning we figured out the metro (a good system here, too. edmonton, are you paying attention). we train to the centre of the older part of lyon. it is lovely. people are friendly. very. the opera is, indeed, sold out for tonight, so we decide to do something else. in the mean time, we track down a little silk workshop, and somehow end up in the middle of an elderly group tour. funny. we stand out. we learned about silkscreening (something i'd never thought of as being connected to silk... hey!) and about how they make the velour patterns in scarves. all very neat. and all in french. we are doing well! we are mostly keeping up!

then to la musee des beaux-arts. some really great stuff. we manage to see everything. again, we're very pleased with ourselves.

then. we eat a late lunch (holy cow, cheesiest pizza ever made...) and buy tickets to some dance show.

and here is where we come to moliere. the show was put on by la maison de danse. we were told it was dance with some theatre. we were lied to. it was not dance. there was no dance. it was terrible, terrible theatre. performed, i guess, by dancers. which means they were not actors. or singers... oh dear jesus. not singers. the play was some re-adapted thing by brecth. it was done all with those grotesque masks and obserd coustumes... you know the ones. like that potato-heads show that used to be on for kids, which i never wathced because i was scared of them. like that. and they shouted in silly voices, and it was bad. very very bad. after two hours (and no intermission) we finally left. it wasn't over... there was no end in sight... so we left. admitted defeat. and thus i have decided. that the french, or at least the french playwrights, are not funny. and we must be cautious and aware. because i will never have that 17 euro, or that two hours again. god, it was bad.

not to worry. we have another day in lyon. we have pushed back our leaving for munich to the 19th, as the only train leaves very ealry, and we wanted some more time here. especially now that it needs to redeem itself. oof.

and now. to bed!

shout outs:
mega congrats to travis for getting hired on for reals at parlee, and even more for getting into the department desired et al. you're awesome-mazing, and i'm super proud.

emma. sorry about all the changes in tense in this post. i know. i know. but i'm so tired!

Friday, May 9, 2008

end game.

yeah, yeah. i know. i'm ridiculously behind on the gossip and stories. fact is the entire choir got a brutal cold, and for the last three days we've been in various states of snotty and gross. WEEE! the best part is looking at something and thinking 'man, this is stupid, and i hate it. lame! lame!' and then saying, 'no, wait. being sick is stupid. THIS is amazing, and awesome and irish...'

and then, oh how you laugh. okay. so. i got sick too. reals sick. for reals. but i'm on the up and up. and i won't tell you about our adventures for the last few days. not just now. but instead, just the end of yesterday.

yesterday, thursday the 8th of may, was my last ever concert with the madrigal singers. the end of four brilliant, and moving, and often trying years. i was the sickest of my sickness and less than in cheery spirits on the way to the rehearsal. it was at this funny little stone cabin-lodge outside of galway, with ponies out front, and eclectic decor. i hated it upon arrival. then (as per the self-conversation above) i realized i didn't hate it at all, and it was really very quaint and charming, and it was the fever and the shaking i hated. we rehearsed, then were treated to a very nice dinner in the very room we'd be performing in. during tea jkp, justin and i sat by the wood stove (which was actually gas, but made to look like a proper wood stove. you know.) in the next room. with candles and warmth. it really was lovely and a good little rest. we changed (crammed in the bus, or in the small women's loo) then lined up outside. the room we were performing in being too small to hide us pre-concert. it was green, and chilly.

the performance room was a semi-sun room tacked on one side of the stone house. three walls were glass, looking out into a lush country-scape. we sang the concert in one row, rather that our regular two, to accommodate the small space. we stood in mixed formation, and i had the pleasure of having my dear lovely friend damon to my right. having sung with him for the full four years in mads, this was very special. my voice was far being in top form, but i managed to get through the rep coughing in between songs mostly, and never completely losing it. the highlights were singing the octet solo in seid frulich at the back of the room, with seven brilliant singers and good friends, and opening the second half in the round (surrounding the packed in audience) to sing lay a garland. i've sung this piece every year with one group or another, since i began singing in choirs and it is one i have never grown tired of. it is a joy to sing, and i am moved by it everytime, still, to this day. by this time it was dark outside, with only a few choice lights shining up on almost unbelievably green trees, and it had begun to rain. the sound of it was amazing, and for a while i completely forgot that i was sick, or that it hurt to sing, and instead just relished in the music and the place.

the audience was incredibly kind and receptive, and we sold many a cd. i was exhausted afterwards, but found energy climbing back on the bus, buzzing out of my fellow singers. the post-concert high you get, even if you think you didn't want to sing the concert, even if you think you've nothing left in you. we played madlibs, and laughed, and clapped for our tour guides. it was a beautiful ending.

today we are back in dublin, and i've just come for the very last group dinner before we all go our separate ways tomorrow. again, there was much laughing. i've enjoyed the company of people here so much, some who i was convinced coming in that i would have to murder in their sleep... it's been a pleasant surprise. i will miss these people, and this choir immensely. there are so many people who have already gone off, a few each year, whom i'm now thinking back on, remembering, missing. mads has been a warm and nurturing home for me, and i feel so blessed to have been a part of it for so long.

and now? a new choral chapter, i guess.

but don't worry. i still have to go back in time and fill you in on the time post-competitions.
AND. the travel adventures are far from done. tomorrow i'm off to london to see mr. harry man. and then natalya will be along. and. oh. so much to do!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

back.

holy cow. i'm in killarney. i've lost my voice. it is lovely here. LOVELY! but wait... i haven't written in forever because they've kept us incredibly busy. so. back in time we go!

the competition town of cork. emma showed up and was welcomed warmly by the choir. she charmed them all. every one. damon. iain. abs. mel. len. and all the rest. good work sister. good work.

we started our festival time performing in a library for a lot of very old people and a lot of very young people. the young people were mostly boys. and they wore grey school uniforms with green crests on. we liked them. they liked us. HOORAY!

then we had a mini performance as diversion-entertainment for one of the school categories of the cork festival. three songs on the city hall stage (where we competed later.. keep reading.) they audience was largely 12 to 15 year old girls. in a variety of school uniforms. they were all pumped on performance adreneline, so they loved us. best audience ever. much screaming. oy! brilliant.

the competition itself. DUM DUM! (that's a dramatic noise. not me saying it was dumb. it wasn't. phew.)

there were fifteen choirs in the international fleischman (???) trophy competition. let's see if i can remember them all...

two from sweden. both with smocks. one highschool. one university.
three from ireland. variety of outfits. often black with accenting accessories.
germany. scarves. later at the party, blue shirts.
finland. all women. intensely patterned dresses.
switzerland. all the women wore matching lipstick. one of the men was bald.
russia. women in flowey purple disney princess dresses. many many of them on that stage. scary...
istonia(?). all women. warrior-milk-maid outfits. and a lot of blonde hair.
university of alabama. dresses similar to ours. (i'll do a drawing highlighting the differences when i have time...)
oh, oh... i'm having a hard time remembering the rest... oh...
oh. another sweden? the other highschool? is that right. oh this isn't going well.
us. u of a... um.
i'm missing two. there might be another germany? and... and???

okay. we'll come back to that later.

emma watched all the groups perform. we didn't get to see them all ourselves, as timelines were tight and they didn't want us running in and out of the theatre willy nilly. emma had a series of questions she had to answer about each choir that we missed. ask her about it maybe.

there were two sessions on the saturday, and we were at the end of the second. second half of the second session. we did rather well, but there were two fairly significant errors. ones the audience wouldn't necessarilly notice, but the joudges would. damn! we say. but it was fun. definitely fun.

sunday, the awards were announced in the evening. all the choirs in the hall, all excited. much screaming and clapping. we were awarded (or len was) the jury award for most innovative and coheisive program. yay len!

and the results?

first place, germany (scarves and blue shirts) with 91.8 percent.
sencond, sweden (sorta mauve smocks... the adult choir) with 91.3 percent
third, one of the irish with 91.2 percent.

yes. that close.

we tied for fifth. with university of alabama. (we think they got confused because we were the only two north amaerican choirs, so we sing in a similar style, are both u of a's, were the only choirs with dr. conductors, and had strickingly similar outfits. cause reall what are the chances of tieing them? slim.) we got 90.92 percent. in fourth place was the other school choir (i think sweden. they wore lots of blue and black.).

phew! it was a crazy pants time. and then the sunday evening was the closing concert, in which all of the choirs performed a few (generally) fun songs, with the pressure off. it was a load of fun.

oh. and both saturday and sunday nights there were these awesome parties. kaelis (?). but that'll have to be another blog.

man. we're so behind... sorry! eee. ireland rules.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

turbulence

we sang our first irish concert last night. we sang in a small church to somewhere around 24 people. i counted while singing... which is probably irresponsible chorister behaviour. we sang like zombies. and not like the zombies in thriller. not cool zombies. we were not happening. (happenin', even.) there was a particularly special interval in 'let not my love be called idolitry'. if we were truly trying to be zombies, it would've been effective. it was scary.

but we did get an encore. phew!

higlight. pre-concert dinner. our second spectacular (and payed for...) dinner. and i was lucky enough to end up at a table with a bunch of choir girls i've not spent much time with in the past. they were an incredibly entertaining group, and we laughed hard and ate well. we spoke of the issues surrounding the choosing of bridesmaid dresses, and how strapless should not be an option. especially when your bridesmaids vary in size. (elaine is planning a wedding for this very summer.) martine gave a particularly enertaining discription of her grandfather, licorice flavoured candies, deafness, and a long car ride... highlight of the highlight? coconut crusted brie with a red berry cinnamon coulis.

lowlight. the lowest light yet. john (jkp) had his passport and credit card stolen. yes. i know. shitty to the maximum. especially as jkp is a savy and experienced traveller. he is feeling the hurt. this morning there were many concerned faces at breakfast, and we sadly had to leave jkp behind in dublin to sort things out at the canadian embacy.

we (minus dear john) had a beautiful drive through the irish countryside, spotting many a sheep lambs, even!), cow, and horse along the way. i saw seven white horses... abra saw a rabbit. tension and tiredness is beginning to take grip on the group. there was a touch more cattyness today. the grump-factor was up. (i certainly do not exclude myself from this, although abra and i did some quality interpretive dance early in the day with our heads connected by my ear-buds.)

stopped in at the rock of cashel for a tour of the cathedral ruins, and then independant lunching. our castle giude, james, was kind and humorous and had a charming way about him. it seems there are a lot of charming people in ireland. strange.

i drank too much water at lunch. far too much. i learned, far too late, that the loo on the bus was not in functioning order. i thought i was going to die. i was the cause of an emergency stop in a small town at a gas station. it was awkward. to say the least. ahem.

highlight. pulling up to the hotel in cork, who should be sitting all sunny on the patio with a pint, but mr. jkp. we all cheered and waved and were filled (or at least slightly topped up) with glee. i don't yet know the details yet, but it looks as if things have been sorted as best they can be sorted.

and. we're in cork! just about competition time! abra's hair looks great! emma arrives tomorrow! there are many exclamations!!!

oh. and bloggers. those of you with experience. i've been taking some killer photos and i'd love to share them with y'all, but i don't know how to get them from my camera to the internet machine when in an internet cafe... any suggestions? thanks. you're super.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

don't worry, be happy.

we are here. in dublin. the lot of us. no one missed the plane. not one person. i am very impressed. thrilled, even. so. here we are!

some highlights? we got a good plane. a packed-full, over-sold plane. but a good one. with tiny individual tv boxes. good plane. good flight.

lowlight. abra and martine's luggage was left in Heathrow. not lost. just left. on purpose? my theory. martine's luggage was particularly stylish. you know. matching suitcase and carry on. in a good pattern. brown tones... and the airport, well it was jealous. abra just got caught up in the drama. but not to worry! they're luggage did arrive, rolling into out hotel just in time for bed, and causing the girls to dance and sing with glee. GLEE! so. can we really be upset about the whole thing? no. we can't.

another highlight. our bus driver is named furgus. yes. brilliant.

we took a wee bus tour of dublin this morning, with a charming and entertaining lady by the name of sadie as our guide. some gorgian architecture. a few deer. the papal cross. jokes. justin climed a tree. he did not fall out. hooray!!!

we're free for a bit (shopping at penneys - the irish version o' primark, lunch, internetting... not necessarily in that order) and then it is back on the bus and off to greystone with us. our first concert is tonight in st. patricks church.

the goodtimes are only just beginning! (and the drama? well. soon, dear friends. soon.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

and so it begins


Hello Friends. Welcome.

Today is the day. We will board the plane. Fly as far as London. Change planes (I'm betting...). And kick on into Duplin. Tada! I have a small (Very small for a month long trip. I'm proud of me.) suitcase. I have a large carry on. (Very nearly the same size as the small suitcase.) This carry on if filled with candy. We're good to go.

So. Let's have a quick introduction to the characters. There are a lot of them, what with there being 40-odd singers in the choir alone, and then the european regulars... the special surprise guests... We'll start with the principles. Ones you're likely to hear about a lot.

Abra. (Abs. Absolom.) My roommate for the duration of the Irish portion o' travels. She does a solid Irish accent. I don't. We will alienate the locals with our charming banter.

Melanie. (Mel. Smelanie. Mellie. Melsolom. Marlotron. Marlin. Marlinator. She is hogging the nicknames.) We have intentions of writing a book or two together on this trip. A choral conducting grad student and a visual artist? We're sure to be published.

Christine. (Christine doesn't seem to have any nicknames I can think of. Odd. That'll have to be remedied.) Melanie's roommate. Pianist. Very stylish. Her outfits will likely be a topic of discussion.

Justin. (Je-lay-lay. Ye-lay-la. Je-lay-la. Ye-lay-lay. J-Hizzo.) A gentleman.

Damon. (Likewise no nicknames...) Philosopher. Tall. Lover of Chess. Wishes he were a cat.

Chris Giffen. (Yes. The whole name is required.) Damon's roommate. Bit of a world traveller. He is the flunky of the house, we call him Flunky Jim.

There's a bit. More to come as plots unfolds. I'm off to do one or two last minute errands, then TO THE AIRPORT! Holy cow!!!