My week - The Lyorn's Den
Mon Oct. 25th, 2010
01:50 am - My week
Not so good, but I managed.
I have a cold. Sunday it was only mildly painful and annoying. I met Ceridwen in town at a party for one of the town's sister cities. A co-worker of hers was one of the organisers, and it looked as if it could be fun. It was also a large fund-raiser to help street kids in the sister city get an education. The party was chaotic and too loud, and the music started too late, but there was some nice dancing, and Ceridwen and I had coffee in a quieter place and talked some.
After that we went for steak, because it's autumn, and I need the occasional slice of meat in autumn or I will always feel hungry. Also, I have this resolution to eat more meat to do something about my frustratingly low ratio of muscle mass to body fat, and if one is going to eat more meat, one can just make it good one. So we went to one of the best steak houses in town. It would have been better if I hadn't been in the process of getting a cold which shut down my sense of taste, but it was still not bad.
Monday I felt horrible, feverish and unable to get out of bed. I called in sick at work and stayed in bed, got up in the afternoon, did brainless things on the computer, and cancelled the evening's role-playing game.
That set the pattern for the week. I went to work every day, but even with lots of pain pills I was confused and slow and miserable, and I cancelled all evening activities to go home, sleep, and then vegetate in front of a screen, taking part in brainless debates.
Nothing I did went smoothly. Tuesday I had an appointment to have my tires changed, which usually takes about 15 minutes. I come in, give the keys to the mechanic, get a coffee, and the mechanic is done with the car before I'm done with the coffee. This time, I had to wait nearly two hours before the mechanic had time for me. And there were not good magazines -- usually they have the political weeklies, this time, it was only car magazines and celebrity gossip. I know a lot about new cars right now.
Thursday I finally managed to get my motorbike from the shop and had it put into a shed at a friend's place so it is at least out of the rain. That also took longer as expected, because the trainee driving the van with the motorbike was early, parked 200 metres down the road and didn't see me for 15 minutes or so, then was miffed that he had to wait so long.
Friday I felt a little better and met R___ in town. We went to an Egyptian restaurant, which would have been quite nice if I had my full sense of taste. When I got home, Snow came in to take my telly for a friend of her mother's who needs a small portable one. We drank tea and talked some more, and afterwards I was in so much pain from sitting and talking that even ibuprofen didn't help anymore, and did not sleep well.
Saturday at least the pain-pills did their job again. I shopped only for groceries, then went to work and did the usual stuff. I hate it when build cycles start on a Friday, and more so when people are dumping large changes at my desk on 5 p.m. on a Friday and the build is high priority. At least I got some nice cooking done in the evening.
Brussels sprouts stew
I love Brussels sprouts. Of all cabbages it's my favourite. So I got a pound of it, cleaned it, peeled and diced three medium sized potatoes and one small onion, and sliced two garlic sausages. Carefully browned the onion in butter, then added two handfuls of everything else and roasted it on medium high until it started to stick to the bottom of the pot. Added water and scraped the sticky stuff, added all the rest and more water and enough instant vegetable broth, black pepper and a very careful amount of caraway, and let it boil slowly for half an hour. Then added half a box of frozen beans which were nearing their use-by date, and some frozen chopped parsley, let it slow-boil for five more minutes and ate about half of it with buttered spelt bread. And drank a very great lot of tea.
Sunday I was still in pain and my throat was completely clogged. Which would have been bad enough on its own, worse because our ensemble had a performance at one of those free concerts the local choir association is holding a few times per year. Usually we perform with the whole choir, but this time it was at a church, and the choir does not do religious music, unless it's Christmas, and even then only with strong reservations. (We make an exception for African music, which I find not quite consistent.) The ensemble has agreed to sing everything that is fun, so we had a very nice collection of modern religious music. One Our Father in Swahili, a piece from a Mendelson oratory, a Salve Regina influenced by Gregorian chants, another Our Father on a text by Khalil Gibran, and a very short Gloria from a very short Mass. All very nice, not especially hard, but worth putting effort in to do them well.
Had we done that with the choir I would have excused myself and stayed home where it was warm and dry and where I didn't need to stress my voice. Unfortunately, the ensemble is ten singers, the Salve Regina is set for five voices and the Gloria for seven, and I had a solo in the Gloria -- an ad lib solo, which meant, I never did it the same way twice, which meant in turn that no one else could do it, even if we had had one voice to spare. So I packed my cough drop, paper handkerchiefs, ginger lemonade and determination and got on my bicycle. (I had considered taking a cab, but was too stingy. Parking at that church is a joke.)
Stage fright makes me grumpy and snippy. I know that I'm a pest, and I am really amazed about people's patience with me. Double that when I have a cold, and twice as much stage fright because I don't know how long my voice will last. We did a warm-up and some last-minute rehearsals followed by some last-minute changes. I always wonder at these events if anyone is attending but the performers and their mothers/spouses, but this time the church was full, and the performing choirs filled only one fourth of the benches.
There were some nice performances, nothing particularly bad, some a little uninspired, maybe. Every choir was wearing the same colours. Maybe we should change ours. Some of the pieces I knew from school. One had me grinning like a deranged Cheshire Cat -- a nice if incredibly schmaltzy Ave Maria, which our conductor at the school choir had always wanted us to do. We could have done it in our sleep, but he always wanted the prettiest soprano sing the solo part, and she was suffering from epic stage fright and always refused to sing ten minutes before we went on stage. One of the bassos, who was friends with us not-so-pretty-sopranos wrote a comedic piece on it.
We were next-to-last, and what I feared would happen happened: For two and a half songs, I could only move my mouth. For one of those, I had to cough so badly that I had tears in my eyes just from keeping it back. And then came the Gloria. But the great thing about ad-libbing is, you never need to do anything you can't. I kept it low and a little softer, and did a new fun thing with a fourth that just happened along. We didn't keep the 7/8 beat 100 per cent, which is always a bit tricky when I'm doing a counterpoint, but I managed to finish at the same time as everybody else.
We got a load of applause, people were really enthusiastic, and we got compliments left and right when it was over. We seem so much younger than the other choirs, despite the fact that half of us won't see fifty again, and the youngest is forty. But those additional four-hour practises once a month and during the summer holidays really make a difference, we know each other and are aware of what everyone else is doing, and we sing by heart, which makes a huge difference to a performance.
The others went for dinner, but I didn't feel up to it and bicycled home through the cold October evening which I would love with all my heart if I weren't so cold all the time this year. It's very unfair to a shiny autumn to resent it for it's bite. I try to curb my resentment. It's my own fault that I'm cold, anyway.
At home, I took a hot shower (screw the electricity bill), turned on the heating and ate the rest of the Brussels sprouts stew and the spelt bread.
And now I need to finish my second pot of tea, take my meds, and be off to bed.
ETA, Wed 27th: OMG. I just saw some pictures and vids from Sunday's singing. I am skinny. And we were brilliant. And my voice fills the whole church. I'm off to have an identity crisis now.