lolaraincoat: (home)
Spring is coming. I have proof. Yes, it's well below freezing out, and yes, most of the snow that fell on Friday night remains on the ground. But The Kids Who Say Motherfucker are once again roosting in the alley beside our house, trucker caps backwards on their buzzcut heads, looking as menacing as they possibly can be while bundled in puffy down jackets. They chirp out their profanities, slap hands, toss their cigarette butts into the street and spit on the sidewalk. We have entered the mating season of the neighborhood youth once again.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Friday night I went to a concert the various student percussion ensembles of The University with the Name That Rhymes with Spork -- the Brazilian escola de samba, the Korean drummers, the Malian dancer-and-drum group, the ensemble working on chanting and drumming from Ghana, the Afro-Cuban group. It was kind of amazing. The samba school was the best I've heard outside of Bahia. The others weren't quite that brilliant, or else my ear is less atuned to their styles of music. But still, they were awfully good: all the drumming and some of the dancing was at least at professional levels. I went with a couple of colleagues and their two kids, who are two and four years old; dancing with them and watching the kids roll around like puppies under everyone's feet was maybe the best part of the evening.

It reminded me, too, of what's so great about Spork U.: you know, we probably don't have enough serious classical string players on campus to make up a good string quartet, and we probably have a football team but I don't know that anyone has ever seen them play. But two dozen well-trained Korean drummers? Fifty gifted African percussionists? A huge, enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience for parade-style samba music? Sure, no problem; we've got that.

A great university can support all those things -- as salsa dance is not the natural enemy of string quartets -- but Spork doesn't have those kind of resources. What Spork U. does have is a truly amazing group of students. And sometimes that feels like enough.
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
In case you ever needed to know what $500 looks like? It looks like turning on the tap in the downstairs bathroom and having no water come out, because somewhere in the walls, the pipes have frozen.

This has happened twice in ten days. I didn't even bother posting about it the first time, because of the helpful perspective offered to me by all the other worries I was worrying about: a problem you can fix with money is barely a problem at all, as long as you have some money.

Although Fishwhistle is now attempting to fix the problem with spaceheaters instead. Brave, manly Fishwhistle! If no water flows by noon we're calling the plumber all the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Which is to say that winter is here at last. We went skiing for the first time in two years on Saturday afternoon. Just doing the easy trail wiped us out, though for me this was after Saturday morning karate class (brave, manly me!) so I had a good excuse. And the woods and fields were lit with that sharp winter light I'd forgotten. It wasn't even terribly cold once we got moving, although every time we stopped I was ... not so much shivering as doing a full-body shudder and panting involuntarily to keep warm. It was great!

Then yesterday I went to pilates class and had half an hour of kata practice before that. Also this weekend featured hanging out with a visiting friend, watching a movie (okay, a DVD, but still) with Fishwhistle, trekking all the way to Waterloo for what turned out to be a so-so concert of sax/piano duos, sleeping for eight hours for two nights in a row, and doing no work at all. Let me repeat: I did no work this weekend.

Now, I know that some of you do no work every weekend, but for me, this is huge. I didn't work! All weekend! Wow! I feel so balanced and healthy! Go me!

Now I did have nightmares all last night about unanswered emails and the job search I'm running, so not entirely sane yet. But still. A weekend! A whole weekend! Maybe I should try it again next year sometime, what do you think?

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August 2014

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