I've spent the break trying to unwind from what I went through this past semester, which has proven to be difficult (I always have to unclench my brain from the stresses of the semester, but usually it's just academic stress). But given what I went through between September and December, I'm not surprised. Still, I'd give anything to completely relax mentally for more than a night (Friday night was wonderful: I felt the calmest that I've felt since September).
For Nutcracker Weekend, I read the entire first violin part, which was thrilling, though I had a few moments where I didn't know where I was in the music, and I completely messed up the part where Clara and the prince arrive in the Land of Sweets and went back after finishing the Apotheosis and read it with the music again. This time I knew what I was doing and where I was in the music.
We spent a few days, including Christmas Day, in the dark due to the ice storm that hit the Maritimes and New England, which got to be a bit tedious (especially since my room turned into an icebox), though Christmas Eve was pretty nice, as I listened to MPBN radio's Christmas music programs on my pocket radio by the fire--we kept the dining room fireplace and the basement stove going 'round the clock, and every night I had the evening shift from when Mom went to bed until Tom came down to take over for me and sleep by the fireplace for the rest of the night--during the outage, he went to bed around 5:00 PM). By that point, I was properly warm (I'd been shivering most of that day even though I had on four layers from the waist up and two layers from the waist down plus socks and boot-style slippers--both fleece). I'll admit that I was disappointed that we couldn't have cinnamon buns on Christmas morning, though I made up for it by making them on the eve of my parents' wedding anniversary. Mom baked them for me the next morning, and they were worth the wait. At this point, I'm sick of Winter. Trond, if you happen to stumble across this blog, I want you to know that I'm jealous of you and your wife (visual artist Joan Siem). You two have the right idea, escaping to Galveston, TX (in addition to being the BSO's concertmaster, Trond conducts the Galveston Symphony).
The power came back on Boxing Day evening, and we all celebrated--and then disappeared behind our respective screens.
On Friday, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Saint Croix Courier (the local paper), thanking the line crews, many of whom were away from home over Christmas (NB Power called in reinforcements), and all of whom had to work in less-than-ideal conditions and at all hours of the day and night:
"Editor:I'll let you know if it gets published (if that happens, it should be in this week's paper)--maybe even with a JPEG of the Letters to the Editor section, as my family has a digital subscription in addition to the regular, hardcopy subscriptions to the Courier and Courier Weekend. I believe this is my first time writing a letter to the editor. Either way, it's exciting.
"I, like many of my fellow readers, wish to thank the line crews who worked through the holidays and in less-than-ideal conditions, giving up time with their families to get those of us who were without power back on the grid. THANK YOU!
"I admit to feelings of frustration toward the government, especially Alward's insensitive, out-of-touch 'hunker down' comment, and the realization on Christmas Eve that my family would be without our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of homemade cinnamon buns the next day was more than a bit disappointing (I like my routines). However, those feelings were dwarfed by the relief that Mom and I felt when we saw three power trucks go up the road on Boxing Day evening, and she and I waved and cheered even though we knew no one could see or hear us. When the lights came back on an hour later, the whole family celebrated.
"Again, THANK YOU, LINESMEN!
I got a cheap (for a conductor's score, anyway) copy of the score for The Nutcracker and spent the days after Christmas studying it, which kept me occupied during the remainder of the outage, and I've already made a handful of notes in it (because it's sheet music, and a lot of the sheet music that I already have is littered with Lynn's and my notes, I don't feel bad taking a pencil to my favourite ballet). My initial plan was to read the harp part, but along the way I ended up reading the other parts and studying how everything fits together. I read up to Drosselmeyer's entrance, which is the beginning of page ninety. I wanted to finish the galop before I left for Halifax so that I know exactly where I am when I come home for Reading Week. I also got a lot of recorded music (some in CD form and some from iTunes): Charlotte Church's first three EPs, a beautiful recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and one of Trond's albums (Hika), which I want to get autographed the next time I go to a PBSO concert.
On Friday, Lynn emailed me an article from the New York Times about a photography documentary, and when I watched the trailer on YouTube (I couldn't watch it on the NYT site, as it just kept buffering), I had to share it with the rest of my readers: it's too awesome to keep to myself (I emailed the article to Tom as well). Thanks, Lynn!
Just like last year, the trip back to Halifax was an interesting one, as the bus was half-an-hour late leaving (boarding was right on schedule), due to the bus coming from Québec--which was one of the transfer buses at Moncton that would take those of us going to places in Nova Scotia the rest of the way (due to so many university students going back to school today, there were several buses covering that route, and because the bus from QC was filled to capacity there was a second bus following it)--being an hour late. When I transferred at Moncton, there were two or three buses covering the route between Moncton and Halifax, and I ended up on the same bus that I boarded in Fredericton.
Check out this video and article about the Robinson Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, which they perform around Maine every December. In Bangor (the performances that the feature talks about), they perform with the BSO. Look for a closeup of Lynn at the 1:16 mark--the piece the orchestra's playing is the Waltz of the Snowflakes from Act I, and due to Trond being in Galveston, she's in the concertmaster's seat (when he's in Maine, she sits in the chair to the concertmaster's left). Go violins!