24 May 2009

The Triumphant (pending the release of grades) Return...

Well, I'm back! Two tumultuous weeks of finals and concerts are OVER. And as a cap to that stressful mess, my birthday was yesterday! It was a fantastic day, and I got tons of great presents, which was awesome, because I wasn't expecting anything. My parents told me weeks ago that they were going to pay a quarter's worth of interest on my student loans as my birthday gift, which frankly was an amazing gift. My parents had helped me out through my undergrad by paying the interest on my loans so it didn't go accruing on me, but now that I'm working, and my brother's in the process of taking out loans (and a LOT of them), they've got to help him out in the same way, and the interest is up to me now. So that was an amazing, unexpected and generous gift. After that I didn't expect to get anything else. But low and behold, this amazing INC dress appeared, along with some beautiful flowers! (the full dress can be seen under this cardigan.)

And from my brother, an amazing painting, that he did himself in his art class, with a stress on purples and greens so it matches my room (once I get my bedspread done!). Dude's got talent with paint that I never had... a much better eye for color and blending. I do better with black and white mediums like Charcoal.

So with that, I'm done. It is just about officially summer. I'm still working as a substitute teacher during the day, but I'm really enjoying that, so I don't really count it. My concerts are over, my classes are over. My multiple papers are finished and handed in.

My kitchen table for weeks before was cluttered with these books, all scholarly and official looking. Finally they've been returned, and we have our table and my sanity back. That stack of books have now been replaced with my summer reading list.

These are just some of the books on the docket for the coming weeks. They include the next few Kathy Reichs books, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (a re-read for me), a few Laurie Notaro books (very funny stuff), The Good Book by David Plotz, The Birth of Britain by Winston Churchill, The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, and The Inner Voice by Renee Fleming. If anyone has any book suggestions, I'm open to them! I'll read pretty much anything except for self-help books, American History (reminds me too much of school for a summer reading list), and really technical economic books (again, just not fun reading for me).

It's such a relief to me to finally be able to read for enjoyment instead of requirement. All I need now is to set up the Hammocks, and the summer will be set. Actually, I'm already done with one of the books, The Princess Bride. I'm part of a read-knit along on the As You Wish group on Ravelry, and I was massively behind on getting it done. To sum it up, the book was FANTASTIC. It is definitely one of my new favorite books and I highly recommend it. It's a brilliant satire, and an amazing adventure story, all rolled into one. It's just like the movie, and in fact, in many ways, better.

So now that I've got my summer reading all set, my school year over with, and my concert season in the past, all that's left is catching up with my online stuff. Hopefully tomorrow morning I'll be able to catch up with all my favorite blogs that have been sitting sadly neglected in my RSS feeder. I will not be posting a Musical Monday tomorrow. They will resume next week, but even so, expect to see more activity here at Lunaticraft. Hey, maybe I'll even finish that sock!


16 May 2009

Can I get some stress, with a side of stress? Oh, and a stress parfait for dessert?


I've been running and running, writing, and writing, performing and performing, teaching and teaching, rehearsing and rehearsing non-stop. I took an hour for myself on Thursday night to watch the season premiere of Bones, which was a very confusing experience. I'm still not sure how I feel about the episode. I also took this morning to just sleep in, and chill. I've got another concert tonight, after three nights of dress rehearsal, and after this the concerts are at least done, but my two papers are due Monday.

So I haven't gotten much done on ANY of my knitting or crochet projects, not to mention anything else that is even vaguely optional.

On the bright side, our apple trees are blossoming!

Anyway, time to get back to the grind.


11 May 2009

A Viennese Musical Monday

Musical Mondays seem to be the only thing I'm able to keep up with lately. I actually just got home from one of my three big concerts, and it went well. So, in the spirit of that performance, I'm deviating from the "not well known" part of Musical Monday. Instead, this is one of the pieces that we played in the concert tonight.

And, to make it even better, I'm offering up two versions. The regular concert version (which is what we played) and the... wait for it... BUGS BUNNY VERSION!

Please enjoy the Overture to Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna by Franz von Suppe, in both its versions.


09 May 2009

A long over due WIP update...

Well, spring has finally sprung here in the northeast. It certainly took long enough, but the grass is finally green, and the flowers are finally blooming.

With the emergence of spring, my life has gradually been thrown into chaos, and the new job teaching 5th grade band and orchestra only served to complicate things further. I don't do well with major schedule change, so it's taken about a week to develop a new routine and get my sleep schedule adjusted to waking up two hours earlier every day.

On top of the regular schedule change, it is also concert season and finals time. In the next week and two days, I have three major concerts (on cello, french horn, and voice), five nights of dress rehearsals, one huge ass paper on racism in early jazz, one smaller but still pretty long reflection paper on the semester reading, one last book discussion on The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (which is 500 pages long... I'm only on page 150 at the moment), and two finals. In addition, mother's day is tomorrow, so I won't be getting much done until Monday as I plan and participate in those festivities. So wish me luck everyone, as the next weeks are going to be long, and busy.

But despite the chaos, I did get some stuff done! The insomnia that plagued me as my sleep schedule fought the adjustments let me get quite a bit done on my very first sock! The heel is turned, and I'm almost ready to start the toe.

It is a short row heel, and I definitely did not make it deep enough, so the ankle will end up hitting almost to the sole of my foot, but that's not a big deal. It's my first sock, after all. The ankle of the sock, in addition, is a bit tight. Not once I put it on my foot, but getting it over my heel is a bit of a wrestling match. I think I was just so worried as I started with the DPNs that the stitches would fall off that I began knitting WAY WAY too tight.

But regardless of its shortcomings, I'm really proud of this little thing. I am officially a sock knitter, and I suspect that this will only lead to more and more. I can certainly see that it's going to be addicting.

Also, I started a super secret graduation present for my college roommate that will be monopolizing my crafty time (what little I have) for the next week or so. I'm not going to tell what it is, or list it on ravelry, for fear that she find it. I'm pretty sure she doesn't follow on here, but you know, just in case. However, I will give a preview. It's going to be rediculously awesome. I promise.


04 May 2009

Musical Monday, and Lunaticraft: THE 100th POST!

Oh my, I totally almost missed posting my Musical Monday (or Music to Knit By) video of the week! Life around here has been past hectic. Concert season is in full swing, all my papers and stuff are coming due, and I had a job come up (under unfortunate circumstances). I'm working as a 5th grade band/orchestra teacher at the middle school I attended until the end of the school year. While I'm grateful for the job, I am not for the circumstances under which I was offered it. The regular 5th grade music teacher has something called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is an auto-immune issue that has paralyzed her. She will regain movement, but it's going to be a long and painful process, so please, everyone keep her in your thoughts (and prayers if you're the prayin' type).

So anyway, I've been so busy and running from place to place, that I almost totally missed Musical Monday. In addition? This is my 100th post. I had been hoping to do something special, but I guess Bernstein will just have to do (although, maybe this really is special. The dude was a freaking genius).

This week, we're switching from vocal music to orchestra music. This is the fourth movement of Shostakovich's 5th Symphony, as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. This movement is possibly one of my very favorite orchestral works both to play and to listen to.

Very powerful, very bombastic, very Russian. It's great music to clean to, or work out to, or write a really hard paper to. Hell, you could be grooming fluffy pink kittens with brushes made of teddy bears and love, and when you put this on as background music? Both you and the pink kittens will immediately feel TOTALLY BAD ASS.

So, without further delay, Lunaticraft presents.... Shostskovich 5 Mvt. 4!


01 May 2009

I have much to share, hopefully sometime tomorrow (huge concert on Sunday though, so I am in rehearsal for much of the day).

BUT... I just feel an unrelenting need to share this. It manages to combine my love for History (subcategory of all things British) with my secret love for techno music. It's only about a minute and a half, but WELL WORTH IT.

And with that, I promise to keep the YouTube videos to Musical Mondays only from now on.