Sunday, February 10, 2008

Violins and Orchids

I have just been introduced to Samuel Barber's Op.14 Concerto for Violin. I want to own it. I go to iTunes. I browse around and decide on an album I like. It is this one. ITunes sells it for $9.99 CAD.

Then I pause and wonder if I shouldn't support my local classical music store. It's been there forever and I rarely buy anything there. I would be sad if it closed down. There it costs $15.98 CAD.

Then I think, is it fair to ask me to pay six more dollars because it's an actual CD that comes in a case? Or am I just paying for their rent in Yorkville? (But then, I'd be sad if they moved.)

Then I look a little further - just to find a good link to the album for this blog and find an even cheaper option. Sony-BMG sells the album for $7.95 USD (which at this time is still $7.95 CAD). Sony is the distributor of the RCA Victor Red Seal line. So, pass the middle men?

What to do? Which option benefits the artist? Which option benefits the environment? Which benefits my local economy?

I'm still undecided. Maybe I'll just request it from the local classical station and save myself the headache of trying to be conscientious.


Today was my parents' 48th wedding anniversary. That means my sister and I have two years to plan their 50th! (G-d willing, right?) Anyhow, I took them to the Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. It was a judged show with hundreds of stunning orchid specimens on display. Eventually I'll post some photos. Then we went to LCBO 'cause my parents like to browse the wines, the beers, the everythings. They're not big drinkers, but they appreciate an occasional whistle-whetting. (Me too...) Finally we headed to the parental units house for bruschetta and champagne and then I left them alone.

Now someone on my floor is cooking something with fried onions and I'm ready to eat again...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl Sunday

I know.
You are wondering, what in heck do YOU know about football?
I was invited to a Superbowl Sunday dinner/ shindig tonight. My lovely friends (one half of whom is the chef behind Culinary Seductions) prepared ribs (which I don't eat but everyone else vacuumed up in apparent ecstacy), while everyone else attempted to teach me about football.

(I mean, I read some gossipy websites, so I knew who Tom Brady was, but let's face it, an over-pretty jock with a hot baby-mama AND a supermodel girlfriend? Not my cup of tea. Yeah, yeah, beggars and choosers, I know.)

I didn't manage to understand a lot of what I watched, but I was thrilled the Giants won AND I discovered Manning.

No, not Eli (wonderful though he was), Peyton.
So sedate and serious, well-heeled, sitting alone half in shadow, focusing all his good energy on his little brother (or so I imagined). What's not to love? So, of course I get home and look him up. (Is he heterosexual? Married? Lonely tonight?) And the article I find is one in Slate where his well-known status as a geeky dork is examined. Get it? From miles away, through television, in 4-second increments, I manage to hone in on the one NERD in football!!!

Dear lord, it is a GIFT I have. A veritable TALENT.


As for books... finished reading Three by Tey, a 3-book volume of Josephine Tey's work. Miss Pym Disposes, The Franchise Affair, and Brat Farrar all being masterful examples of characterization and setting.


Food discovery: Astro has new pack of yogurt flavours out including lemon meringue, caramel, vanilla and banana cream in the same box. The lemon meringue is awesome.

Ok. 1500 words before my head hits the pillow, so that's all for now...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Books I Have Not Read (or Books of Wives and Daughters)

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Pilot's Wife
The Kitchen God's Wife
The Zookeeper's Wife
The Mapmaker's Wife
The Senator's Wife
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Piano Man's Daughter
The Optimist's Daughter
The Bonesetter's Daughter
The Gravedigger's Daughter
The Florist's Daughter

If you have read them, could you please reveal some of the title characters' names in the comments?

I never made a decision not to read the above books. I was discussing books with a friend and noticed that I always confused the first two in my head. Then I had to assuage my curiosity and see how many other "wife" and "daughter" titles I recognized but never read.

I have however, read:
The Firework-Maker's Daughter (Philip Pullman picture book)
The Meaning of Wife (Anne Kingston essays on the "Wedding Industrial Complex")
The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks, non-fiction)

If you do a search on Amazon, though, you find a lot of "The [adjective] Son", as opposed to "The [noun's] son. Do you think the current titling of [so and so]'s daughters is just a trend, a way to market a story as taking place in the past? Or is there an element of (misguided) nostalgia in the titles? Or am I reading too much into it?

Biscuits, Books, and Bookings

I got a job posting from the Temp Agency I'm with. It is a very well written job posting for a administrative sort of job with a non-profit organization.

Of course, they want someone who can self-motivate, prioritize, see things to completion. They want someone organized who can also organize others and plan events.

I'm sure such people exist. I am not one of them. I am lazy. I have often wished for telekinesis so that my coffee or tea could float to me when I forget the mug on the kitchen counter. I am disorganized (see drawer, socks; see papers, basket of). I do not prioritize well. I work on things I enjoy. Then I force myself to work on things I don't enjoy. And sometimes I wait too long and have to hustle to meet the deadline.

I would love to see a job posting like this:
"Creative, compassionate, intelligent person with good humour needed. Character, spine, and good morals required. Ability to delegate and motivate a plus. Ability to brew good coffee an asset. Organization will be done by others who are better at it than you. Ability to prioritize not necessary as your assistant will hand you numbered lists. Lying, scrupulousness, gossip and politics prohibited."


Went to visit my friend and her wee baby. By "wee" I mean "very big and round and adorable". I had bought the wee (giant) baby an ensemble from Janie and Jack in the States. They sell very cute things. She provided tea and delicious biscuits that she had whipped up from scratch before I arrived. (And took care of baby AND had the kitchen spotless by the time I arrived.) I'd been eyeing the uber-flakey biscuit recipe at Cooks's Illustrated, but Friend introduced me to Chef Michael Smith's clever frozen butter biscuits instead. Genius! Guess what I'll be baking from now till June?

Have been reading one Martha Grimes after another. Now I'm reading the books she mentions in her stories. To whit, "The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller" by Henry James. (I'm reading this version. I picked it up at a used bookstore in Kansas and my friend rightly noted that the font reads like 'Pink Panther' rather than 'Henry James'.) I'm also reading "Miss Pym Disposes" by Josephine Tey (in this edition. The book is three novels called "Three by Tey" and there's apparently another set called "Four, Five, and Six by Tey". So far, highly recommended, but I haven't finished it yet.
Got an idea for a story. One of those nice moments, when a story falls into your head, nearly fully formed. Until I write it down, I have the illusion of it being brilliant and publishable. Once I write it then I get to see the plot holes and general weaknesses. It's like an unchecked lottery ticket. As long as you don't check, you could be walking around with MILLIONS in your wallet!