Sunday, December 3, 2000, 26:00 AM
domesticity hits. cookies being made in the kitchen, and i'm in the vivaldi mood--i used to have two discs of his cello sonatas, and the early classical thick minor arpeggios prompted to steal my first few CDs from my parents--so i have his stabat mater on winamp. (couldn't deal with the symphonic rep test list right now, too romantic for the weekend of beethovenWagnerBrahmsTchaikovsky, so it's Vivaldi, pergolesi, and Mozart 40 & 41.) baking smells wafting in through my open door, amelia's got the domestic urge, and laurel rubs my tense neck (she's wearing my huge cotton sweater) and i rest my head against her ribcage and it's very good to have the christmas season of cold noses, frigid tingly legs in black stockings walking into the crispness post-concert. the best is crunching through the snow, slightly glazed over with ice which reflects a light glow of the streetlights, walking around the patches of ice on the sidewalk, black skirt sticking out from under a heavy coat and your hair and eyes done. done with the performance and the lobby is full (Mills in Humanities at Madison; Lang in Lang at Swat) of people parents friends small violinists all smiling and talking and warm orange carpet or polished wood floors, a table of cookies and a glow of it's all over and there's snow through the huge panelled windows (onto the courtyard, onto the face of the building) but for now we're all in warm black, still warm with the friction of our bows on the strings, with the concentration of a full symphony. the heat it takes mentally to get through a page of music with constant eighths going, pulsing so regularly like a cat's heart, feline in its poise. to funnel every active energy into the patterns on the page that your fingers know but your eyes are still reading (it takes more when you haven't actually practiced your part since the last time you played it, two years ago). and the chords come. they're in your fingers, the root-third-fifth(-seventh) of any harmony and in any neighboring key, your ear hearing the modulations slighly before your fingers, which respond without prompting to the aural impulses instigated by the horns, flutes, violins. so many mozartean overtures and beethovenian string quartets that i've stopped having to think about it--but still, putting your mind in that groove and keeping it there for an hour and a half is so satisfying (you start playing not on your instrument, but on yourself (there are f-holes in my back))--and yet so taxing. you stand up afterwards, and you can't beam at the audience--too drained--even if you know it went well. you go home and slowly come off the high, down from that mathematical, spine-tingling groove, and are rendered nonfunctional for the rest of the evening.
--i must do less of this, or i will burn out.
but in the meantime, i love beethoven's ninth. even if with it comes eight hours of rehearsal and two concerts in one weekend.
lemon ginger cookies. not as exotic as they sound and so much more. joy of cooking white bound paper and chocolate-stained cover in my mother's kitchen, and at the same time european tang of sugar and candied ginger, maybe they wave palm fronds in a tropical breeze, i don't know, but the christmas whereëver they're from is both mine, snowed and silverbranched and tinsful of cookies from neighbors, shovels--or from someplace where the evergreens are by no means the only verdure of the season. i can't tell. but laurel makes an damn exotic sugar cookie. lemon icing. candied ginger. hallelujah, for the lord goddessOfCookies omnipotent reigneth.
three points define a plane, says laurel. she says, the most stable shape for load-bearing legs is a triangle. unfortunate that she's right. we're in the third person with each other as we exist and discuss in the first. i rather like it.
i am deathly afraid of cats. one came into the lodge today at laurel's coaxing, could have been the willets cat, and we tried to feed it warm milk but it turned up its nose at the inorganic WaWa. It purred around my room and the kitchen, sliding a little on the spilled olive oil (my broken glass record is not so great recently, or excellent, depending on which way you look at it) and finally padded up to laurel's bed. i was sprawled out on it and Cat nosed its head under my hand, purring. oh but i'm afraid of this miniature lion. so afraid of it. small rumbling lion, are you purring or are you going to bite me? i wonder if the cat is still under my table.
Tuesday, December 5, 2000, 25:59 AM
i just received a box of contacts in the mail. this is very good, because i've been rather bitter at Laurel since she threw mine out a month ago or so. I've since existed in glasses, which were really nice (good thing i got them redone a few years ago, just in case of some emergency like this), but i'd been wanting my old eyes back. And today they came, in a small box. I just put a pair in and now the world is much, much larger, and i am shorter. my computer screen (only 15") is huge, and the notes on the shostakovitch piano quintet viola part on my desk are the size of small peas, like the notes i learned Hot Cross Buns with when i was 3. The planes of everything around me shift drastically when I get up, and my head's slightly swimming.
I went to the [springfield] mall today with lisa [huang] and we looked for new pants (to no avail. I like laurel's. I want to steal them). my eyes were wide open in the store, staring appalled at the christmas displays, mannequin torsos in tight "chunky cotton" red sweaters, gold reflective bulbs hanging around their figures, showing my surpised upside-down visage, sans lunettes. my eyelids are stretched a little further than usual. lisa says, i need to close my eyes a little. i can't! everything's huge! The gaudy christmas leers out at me in ultra-3D, layered in infinite vanishing points. i try to retreat into my eyes but there's no longer the security of the glasses minify everything and keep it at safe distance. as we rise heavanwards on the escalator towards the towering aisles of cookware (oo, square griddle pans! blocks of knives!), my point of view changes hundreds of times per second, and the plane of my vision redraws itself so fast and in such large relief that my brain is stunned.
i like having my periphery back, but i'd forgotten how weird contacts are. i'm only slowly adjusting it. rory hypothesizes that everything does in fact retain its physical size, that it's just my eyes playing with my brain. he's probably right but i still can't get used to the number of dimensions in which i'm suddenly seeing.
The mall, though, aside from the amusement value it provided re the holiday red and visual stimulii, provided a small jolt of reality, or what masquerades as reality out there. Steve Dawson, graduated last year, came by a while ago and told me, "the real world is a cool, cool place. Be excited for it." I'm not so sure. If the real world includes about twenty girls in tiny little shirts, peroxided hair, and grossly overmade lips screaming because they get to be onstage with N'Sync at a concert, i mean reacting as if they just ... i can't even compare it ... as if they just cut football from swat, hehe. I'm so very pleased with that. I'm so in the minority. I'm really disregarding process and just being happy that a stupid team that i hate to begin with (not the individual people--at least not all of them--but the whole sport) is going to be gone. hehe, bad me. which is why i'm not being very vocal about it. kasia doesn't like it at all and lodge politics are a little tense right now. not very. --but these asinine bubbleheads on MTV--wow, if this is the real world, i'm very, very scared for it.
I have a tupperwareful of pierogies in my (kasia's--we're getting the fullsize one soon) fridge which i'm going to go consume. Xanthi is the cutest. Observe: (Both of these sent to the cantatrix list)
Subject: a really weird request ...
so i just read tomorrow's sharples menu-
um, if any of you happen to be eating lunch there tomorrow, (i mean today, thursday)could you maybe bring me back a few pierogies to rehearsal?
Subject: heads up!perogies in sharples lunch today! ;-)
i'll be there procuring some myself
so don't worry about me,
concentrate on your own stashes!
I'm going to go eat some. I'm hungry. They'll probably be immense without my glasses.
(dude, this painting is mondrian! king of the white fucking squares! i'm impressed.)
Friday, December 8, 2000, 9:19 PM
ecco domani. It's already tomorrow (and tomorrow, actually, but i haven't yet hit rock bottom--it's still not tomorrow) and this is what should have gone up Friday but wasn't finished. More weekend to follow later.
9:19 PM on a Friday night and it feels like it should be Sunday night, except the weekend's just gearing up. The vibe on campus is the slighly more electric (yet still crazily stressed-out) unrest of the early weekend. The stress is on all levels--Mike Smith is worried about a paper; I'm worried about a few concerts; Galen's worried about getting the alcohol and SAC for his huge Frisbee-Rugby party tonight. I'm making baqlawa, or rather i suppose it's baklava, because i have no rose or orange water, the rose garden is dead and i can't make some, so i have to resort to the greek version of lemon juice and honey. I just made the syrup, having layered the phyllo dough (note the phi and upsilon; yeah, this is totally Hellinic) on top of crushed walnuts--courtesy of Laurel and her impromptu mortar and pestle of a small pyrex dish and large bowl. Just like my mother used to, does. Brushing clarified butter and oil onto ricepaper-thin layers of pastry and sprinkling it with walnuts. The kitchen smells like home. The syrup to pour over it smells like the inside of a small Greek restaurant, the pungent scalding-hot honey-lemon.
This is all for my Quintett concert tomorrow (the reception, at least). Jamboree is also in the making, which Cantatrix is hosting (i have to drop out next semester--much as i like singing, whatever free musical time I have now must be spent on viola). I needed to get rubber ducks for that today (for the Mixed Company intro), and ended up dispatching Alice Hershey to Target to get three "soft ducks" (she was going anyhow and was looking for a car; i leant her mine and reaped the benefits). So that off my shoulders. But still ... the detritus of last night's Grapevine dinner in my basement and on my kitchen, and Jenny couldn't clean up until after my library shift today so what with that and sound check with ellipsis (with whom Alyson and I are playing tonight on two songs), I couldn't start it until just now. Seven-fifteen, more like, but it's time-intensive. I'll be doing more tomorrow afternoon.
But, as I say, it's weird that it's the weekend still. I've been drunk two nights in a row now, not out of my gourd, but then again I never am. Just tipsy enough to make analyzing Schubert a little harder. :-) Wednesday night I went to Paces to find Laurel after my rehearsals ended. When I got there she was reading Dewey, though, and Adrian Daub, Rebecca Ennen, and Misha Horowitz (I know them less and less well, respectively) were discussing The Master and Margarita at another table, so I joined them.
Interjection: Can i just say how fucking frustrated I am with Russian Novel? Damn it all to hell. I took this class because of The Master and Margarita--i'd read it before but would have loved to have discussed it with a cool prof and in a cool class. But the first impediment was the cool prof. Thompson Bradley rocks, yes, but George Pahomov, the idiot they've imported from Bryn Mawr to joint-teach the class, just fucking babbles on. Babble babble freud babble abstract babble babble. He just spews out shit. (I drew a "George Pahomov Banana" the other day in class ... just decorated a yellow piece of fruit with random academic jargon he threw out.) Next there's the class size, and the class. There are maybe 30, 40 people in the class--far too big for a real discussion. We've had a few but it has ended up being dominated by Perry Grossman, who as far as I and that class is concerned, is the Devil = Woland = Mephistopheles = Satan = Perry Grossman. More on that later. But he will not shut the fuck up, and will just babble pretty-sounding shit. Third frustration: there is far too much reading to possibly do it all. We've read A Hero Of Our Time, Dead Souls, Home of the Gentry, Oblomov, Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Envy, The Master and Margarita, A Day in the Life of Ivan D.. And I think I'm forgetting one or two. I've read maybe four and a half of those, if you count all the halves together. Soooooooo frustrating.
Anyhow, I joined Misha, Rebecca, and Adrian, and talked about The Master and Margarita for a spell. They proposed a question to open discussion tomorrow with: "If any Swat student were the devil, who would it be?" I immediately said, Perry Grossman. Ha. If he and I were perhaps a little different each, we might actually get along. But no, right now it's just kind of stupid and tacitly antagonistic. Whatever. That was a screw date gone wrong ;-). They laughed and Misha pulled out the Grey Goose as Adrian and Rebecca left slowly. I said, Misha, stay and talk to me! So he did. Random boy in my CA group with whom I've never really conversed before. Much fun. I went home, tried to analyze some Schubert for class in the morning, and put up the following away message on IM:
|analyzing death and the maiden drunk on really expensive vodka. damn, life is good.|
The next day in class, the three discussion leaders actually opened with that question. Some kid Adam in the class immediately says: "Perry Grossman." And then justified it with "well, he always makes you think he's talking about something beautiful, but then you realize it's just scatalogical or ugly or shit [or something]." Which was beautiful--not only because it was true, but of how Perry proved it half an hour later when Thompson Bradley invited him to explain the epigraph of the book (a quotation from Goethe's Faust) saying, Perry, you've been nominated the devil by popular consensus--why don't you tell us what you think of the epigraph? Perry obviously thought nothing of the epigraph, but it was damn funny to watch him tell us what came directly out of his ass. :-)
I watched Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring the other day with my beautiful Mike Smith, whom i never get to see. Craziness--i have so seldom seen ballet! The nutcracker once, I'm sure, and Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinksy) in new york with my college tour people (wiklers, anna, and alex jacobs), but other than that, nothing! Alana's dance concerts. No real Graham. Goddess but she's gorgeous. Goddess but Copland's simple counterpoint on the "gift ..." theme is so well-crafted and starkly gorgeous. In MG's honor, the background today [friday] is her.
Sunday, December 17, 2000, 1:38 PM
|December and where is the snow?|
the zero morpheme;
hanging in droplets off the pussywillow.
I put up an away message last night that said, kahlua, velvet, brushed hair, and got three responses that said, yum. Interesting. Because if had just said kahlua, i probably wouldn't have gotten the same response. But with velvet pants, and Fanjul's brushed hair, it was 'yum'.
Lodge Two met itself yesterday. Chris Fanjul and Wayne Miller, both Swat '00 (aught aught, says Chris, clapping his arms like a seal) were on campus yesterday. Laurel greets me as I return from PYO with, hey, do you know who's on campus? --Carlisle Price and Rob Cox, I guess, having seen both these absentees around recently. --No, Chris and Wayne are in Mike Smith's bathroom, she says. Randomness. I make my way down to PPR around 3:30 PM looking for eggs, butter, and lemon juice which had been left in the Roberts fridge after the cookies. Delivered a CD to Mike [Smith], ran into Julia Trippel, who said they'd just left with Madduck (what's his real name, she asked? --ha). Went to dinner and out shopping (Tar-zhay with Alyson and Peter--I got CD labels to replace the ones Alyson'd used, and pretty-colored CDs! greenpurpleorangebluedarkorange). When i got back Kasia said, nori, a guy stopped by for you ... --longish hair? ponytail? glasses? tan? --yes. --damn it! So I sit down and work on polish morphology for a while more (which is actually coming along really well. I explained some shit last night by resorting to Polish's ridiculously-inflected case system (seven cases!) and it should be done soon ... i hope), when i hear voices from above. Into my room tromp Heather, Julia, Chris, and Wayne. A whole fucking party of the coolest people. The boys goggle--um, this used to be our basement ... the black hole, and now ... :-) They spend upwards of an hour chez moi reminiscing. Yay for old friends. Chris is ridiculously tan, but he works in the bahamas. We might forgive him. Why do people graduate, goddamn it.
They leave--headed towards Anni's party--and i go back to my lodge (yeah, mine now ... time rolls on), work on my paper for 40 minutes, take a shower, put on my only clean clothes left (velvet pants). They're not at the party. Stinkers. I suppose they had to be forgiven, having driven from FL the night before ... I meander over to PPR to try to find them, and to say goodbye to Galen, who was leaving the next morning. I just now returned, having slept in a boy's bed and wearing one of his flannels.
Damn that my night wasn't as sketchy as that just sounded. I found Wayne all but passed out on Heather's bed, with Heather in Abby's, and Abby AWOL. Somewhere during while we were chatting, Martin (madduck) called to say Fanjul was asleep in ML. No idea why he bothered calling, but at least it saved me a trek--i had been going to track his ass down and make him talk to me (haven't seen him in six months or so! only knew him for one, really). Bid adeiux to them, then Galen, and then found Mike Smith hanging out in his room. I ended up sleeping in Ben's bed, just for the hell of it, while mike went out, returning at 7:30 in the morning. more chatting, more sleep, and mike lent me one of his flannels to go to brunch in (i couldn't go in velvet pants and the crazy-flowered and -collared shirt i had been wearing the night before--how funny that the closest thing I've done to the Walk of Shame has been from a gay boy's room). Am now returned and am comfortably typing in flannel and velvet. No kahlua (had a little with eggnog at anni's, but not anything); my hair's unbrushed and up, having never come down. As I say, the outline of my night sounds much more sketchy than it was.
|dancing eggplant (1:54:28 PM): this is a yes or no or hell no question: could you be ready to leave on wednesday?|
n0r1 (1:54:37 PM): AAAAAAAAAAAAAA
thank whatever gods there are (beethoven?) that i have till thursdsay ...
Listening to Beethoven's Mondschein sonata played by Barenboim right now. Yesterday was his 230th birthday. Let me just tell you how much this man is my god, so much as I have one. And let me tell you now, before I get embroiled in analyzing the entire first movement of his Appssionata for my Music 13 (theory III) final. I said, Laurel (the other day via IM when I was online from Underhill), I don't want to analyze these few hundred measures. Do you want to do it for me? She said, I'll write a page about how the second movement makes me feel, if you like. So i xeroxed her the score (I love my music library) and while she has yet to write it, I know what she means. So elegant and complex. So simple. I - IV - V - I; I - IV - It.6 - I. In the low registers, a passing tone here and there. Goldberg carried to new heights. I love how they all stand on each other's shoulders. Brahms' First was hailed as Beethoven's 10th. Beethoven is so much and so tonal but such a genuis. Here's to 230 more.
Monday, December 25, 2000, 8:23 PM
Hehe, yay for christmas. I have a pink nalgene bottle :-). My mom also got a digital camera from my grandmother, so I've been playing around with that this afternoon / evening. It gets dark so quickly here during the winter. Brilliant light reflecting off the streets--everything white to the point of precision; deluged with the absence of color, noah's flood except colder--reflecting off the buried cars, the huge flat roof opposite our front window that takes up most of the wall--i wake up at noon and shuffle in my pajamas and ridiculously pink, ridiculously fuzzy slippers (from alyssa last year), my eyes still dark from the dreams i was having of sliding on ice, and, passing from the 5-foot hallway into the living room, am suddenly assaulted with snowlight, multiplied in the prism of the neighborhood. Used to that light all day, squinting when you look outside to gauge the temperature (-14°F), the early and long darkness is an especially strong contrast. Days are getting longer, they say, but the darkest day of the year isn't ever the coldest, so the solstice barely means anything except delicious hors d'oeuvres at at allison's annual Silver-Savage Sostice Brunch (the reason we drove home two days early). The bitter cold lasts well into april, and the showers named after that month don't reliably come until the may thaw. Ari says he prefers the east coast where there are seasons instead of six months of winter and six of summer. It must be because I grew up here, but I love the wind biting your ears off and curling into the hollow between your neck and your scarf; i love the squeaking snow under your boots and the wool socks beneath; the red faces of everyone coming inside and steamed glasses; the snow that stays and erupts in small mountains in parking lots where the plows pile it around the lamp-posts. In pennsylvania it snows a little, we make an angel, and then the still-green grass peeks through its wings and we go back inside, barely touched by the cold. I prefer Wisconsin.
It's so good to be home. Even though home is no longer necessarily home in terms of material possessions--it used to be that wherever i had my computer, all my clothes, my books and my mother's library on immediate reference was home, but now I can transport my viola and a suitcase (okay okay, and my computer) home and be perfectly happy--it's still home in terms of ease of automatic motions--driving my mom's stick, locking the front door in two fluid motions, the way the halls curve, my mother's kitchen, et cetera. I don't know. Home is good. And that's hardly a statement which needs defense.
Christmas is even good. Alexis has been drawing an über-xmas card all day long--four huge pages of inked cartoon, which the regular cartoonist will then shrink down; Mom made a great dinner (the cookbook, edition Dos, will likely come out before July, I'm thinking--poking around Chuck's and chris's recipes pages; plus i need all my mom's holiday recipes, and my roommates--if you have good ones, send them my way!)--a great dinner, as I say, of the traditionals plus marinated tofu and delicious portobello mushrooms, left. And all this concomitant Christmas guilt has kind of dissipated, even though I haven't yet bought a present for my mom, or even attempted to. It'll happen throughout the year. But i hate getting things and not giving any (except for two cool CDs to my sister--a mix of Dar and one of Joni--which she loved). On Alexis' end, it's fine. I gave her 2 CDs and she gave me my cool new water bottle and a small thing of sesame oil, which she'd noticed I was low on when she visited the Lodge back in October. sweet & perceptive girl. But rar, i owe my mom. :-) she gave me a flannel (miracles, as laurel's away message said--my mother works miracles--i sent her a last-minute email and she produces this men's small plaid flannel. how did she do it.--and hehe, now i can return mike smith's), a cute sequined silver purse sheerly for kitsch value (of which it has tons, but i love it), a great sweater (above in the nalgene picture), flannel sheets ... &c., &c. presents comin' your way soon, mamma mia.
Grandma got the household a fabulous present--color printer, scanner, and digital camera. (We have yet to make the scanner work but the camera took a few tries, too, so no worries yet.) All the photos up here are the result of me and alexis playing around with the new toys. Mom plans to take the battery-eating camera to France. Digital toys are so much fun. Dad & delia gave me color-dripping candles (and i was running lown on tapers for my empty absolut bottle), blue bindis (Jenny, the oddly-multicultural Viking Jewess, used to wear them so much in Malaysia that she developed a rash to the adhesive), orchestra tickets, and a gift card to Borders. I think I just finished using the one he got me last year. So great--and they're even in the Phillipines right now! it SUCKS that i won't see him at all this break! Maybe I'll have to come home for spring break just to see my family, if I am indeed living in California with Alyssa this summer ...
And i am. Or rather, I will be. (Just out of curiousity, all you linguistic freaks--others please pardon the digression--can you say "I wasn't cold yet today"? Go with your first instinct--so far all of Allison's syntax class thinks you can't, but my mom and sister and I think you can ...) --anyhow. Alyssa and I are, if not yet gung-ho, quite adamant about this plan. It's so harebrained and irresponsible and unstructured and so something we need to do. The summer after our sophomore plans in college, no definite plans for our lives--perhaps something nebulous but we're not on a med-school track or anything--a religion major and a music/linguistics major living in a sublet apartment in berkeley, having driven there in a big orange Behemoth of a Car Car, maybe taking a class, working at some small restaurant or café if they'll have us, camping on the weekends, and alyssa wants to dip her toes in the pacific. I'm so down with that. And it needs to happen now, or around now, the summer we're twenty. I have faith that it will. I've told PYO I'm not going with them if they go to China; i have a car to get out (shut up, all ye naysayers--it likes the warm weather! summer! california! this baby's a florida machine, and it'll dig the summer and get us cross-country). I'm going to need something like that, I think. I'll be away in the fall (gotta look into study-abroad and transferring UW credits more), but living at home for another summer just may not be an option, and what's the difference (besides free room & board) between Madison or Berkeley? nada mucho. and I've never been to California.
Still "working" on these papers. Hollis has a bit to do on Beethoven. The semester ain't over but it's so curative to be home. Alexis and I just ran into Allison in the video store, who's coming over to lend me her car, receive her present (i love my CD burner), and to watch An Ideal Husband with us. Yay Christmas.
all this ©nori heikkinen, December 2000