Let's see if I can eke out five things before the day is completely over. It is hard, given my general state of exhaustion and distraction of late.
1. Saturday night I went with friends to the Knoxville Symphony's Pops Concert, where we saw the movie The Wizard of Oz with live accompaniment Despite that the fact that the resolution on the screen wasn't all that good, and the soundtrack as it was played in theater, with the original singing wasn't stellar either, the performance as a whole was fabulous. Well, the score is marvelous to begin with, and watching the movie while hearing the music being performed live was a stunning experience. I don't think I had ever seen The Wizard of Oz on a big screen, and although I saw it every year of my childhood, it had been many years since my last viewing.
I had forgotten how surreal and, at times, downright weird that movie is. Of course that is part of the key to its success, the way it appeals to universal themes and yet doesn't succumb to deeply to pat stereotypes. We can all learn a little something from the Wizard of Oz. It seems I am still learning. Of course children know this, know many things we adults have forgotten, know that home is safety and comfort and that the wild bright world "out there" is simultaneously vibrant and alluring, yet filled with dangers, with the overall too-muchness of it. Hence when Dorothy returns home, she learns that she can conquer her own fears, but she also returns to a black and white world. For a while I thought this was a bad thing, that the returned too world should be some half-way point on the color spectrum, but now I appreciate the security of it, of what we all long for, the security of home.
2. I've slept in my own bed for the last two nights, the first two nights this year! This means that I can actually, finally, breathe well enough that I am not spending the night propped up in a chair or recliner, and I cannot begin to explain what a huge difference this has made in terms of regaining a sense of normalcy. As a reward for sleeping, I even took a moderate walk today and it felt wonderful to be out and move, even if I did not manage as much activity as I otherwise would have preferred.
3. Wednesday I attended a chamber music concert, something that is generally much more in keeping with my musical inclinations. The highlight of the program was Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe, which was stunningly beautiful, not that the playing in the other pieces was a disappointment either. We heard Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, and "Spring" from the Four Seasons. The Vivaldi was the weakest piece in the evening's performance, with the slightest hint of hesitancy and disconnect in the strings, probably corrected by the second performance on Thursday night. But the strings redeemed themselves in the later two pieces, especially in the conversational intimacy and playfulness Gordon Tsai and Gabrield Lefkowitz brought to the Mozart.
4. I have finally gotten back to reading the first of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, My Brilliant Friend, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Of course I enjoyed it when I started before, but I struggled because I had wanted to read it as part of a read-a-long and the pace was too slow and the whole thing felt pressured to me. This was about me, not the other readers. I tend to be a fast reader, and I also tend, when reading something I need to discuss, to be at my best when I can read something once-through before going back to look at it more critically. However I did not do that, and then my time and my attention was too fragmented. I am happy to be finally be fully engaged in the book and I am looking forward to finishing it and reading the other books in the series.
5. And although I have actually more or less had a normal, not too busy day today, and I have walked, and read and run errands and on a few small projects around the house, it seems I am still a trifle scatterbrained. I picked up some salmon for dinner, and some black cod as well, but then I got distracted by another project, patching a small hole in the wall left behind when I removed a large picture from the wall when I put up some interesting sculptural tin flowers I purchased in Arkansas. Alas by the time I got everything done, including a trip to the hardware store, it was too late in the afternoon on this cloudy day to get a decent picture in the sunroom, a room that is at its best in morning light.
It was also apparently too late for my salmon. I had planned on baking it with some Thai Sweet Chile sauce, which I had made before the great sinus plague, but I forgot that I needed to marinate the salmon with the chile sauce for at least 2 hours. By the time I figured this out I was ready to eat. Luckily I had some fresh bratwurst in the fridge, and some homemade sauerkraut, so a successful dinner was not a problem. The salmon can sit in its marinade up for up to 24 hours, so I'm ready for tomorrow's dinner. The cod is bathing in a concoction of pretty much equal parts mirin, sake, and white miso. My experience with this technique is that the cod is at its best between 48 hours (2 days) and 5 days, and so I am looking forward to have something to come home to after the MLK day activities on Monday..
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, and I hope to be back into a routine soon enough.