Wednesday, December 15, 2010


So yesterday was fun! I got breakfast with my drummer and a rockin' 2-year old, and then the three of us went to the Discovery museum, which is right on main St. The museum is certainly aimed young, but exploring it with a toddler makes it fun.

The day before yesterday, actually, I got to read to Scott's daughter in the library, which was also great! Hanging out with kids is good for me.

Yesterday evening consisted of good company and good music at the pub across the street; this morning I burned off some of my restless energy on the treadmill at the gym, which felt great - I could have kept running all day, it felt like! Also, in the middle of my treadmilling activity, many WASPs in sweater sets filed in, followed by a kindergarten class, and there was a ribbon cutting ceremony! This was surprising. It's because it is actually a new gym location for the Bangor Y - I got super turned around on my way there and was surprised to arrive there at all, actually - and although it has been open for a couple weeks, I guess today was ribbon day!

Today I'll head to the theatre early and write some chords; then we have a show; also I will probably read a bunch of sonnets. If I can keep myself motivated, I will go to the gym again tomorrow and keep feeling great!

The end.

P.S. Pictures!

Bangor even has cute chocolate.

Dominick gave me a lobster pin!
Sometimes snow is fluffy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

my favorite excerpt*

from the maine Edge's review of Forever Plaid:

"....And work it does. This is a show about the songs. Four-part harmony is a beautiful thing, when it's done right, and these guys can make it happen. The music is toe-tappingly mesmerizing. Each number is pure and engaging. Sure, the bits between songs - the comedy and earnestness - they're important (and very well done), but all in all, the music is the thing.

"This quartet has brought Forever Plaid to life. They are as real a musical group as you'll ever see - aided in no small part by the exceptional band, with Caleb Sweet on bass, Chris Viner on drums and led by piano player Shoshana Seid-Green. The band is tight, the vocals are spot-on - it's one of the better concerts you're likely to see."

Hell, yeah!

*Here is the rest.


Caelica 7

Ok, so I don't love this poem, although I respect its form, elegance, and technique, but I do love HOW MUCH FREAKING CHIASMUS IT USES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caelica 7
Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke

The World, that all contains, is ever moving,
The Stars within their spheres for ever turned,
Nature (the Queen of Change) to change is loving,
And Form to matter new is still adjourned.

Fortune our fancy-God, to vary liketh,
Place is not bound to things within it placed,
The present time upon time passed striketh,
With Phoebus' wandering course the earth is graced.

The Air still moves, and by its moving cleareth,
the Fire up ascends, and planets feedeth,
The Water passeth on, and all lets weareth,
The Earth stands still, yet change of changes breedeth;

Her plants, which Summer ripes, in Winter fade,
Each creature in unconstant mother lieth,
Man made of earth, and for whom earth is made,
Still dying lives, and living ever dieth;
Only like fate sweet Myra never varies,
Yet in her eyes the doom of all Change carries.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lobby Reflections

Note: I was just writing this to write, and then it read like a blog post to me, and I am overdue to post here, so I copy-pasted it right on! Anyway, that is why it is so rambly. Also, I will try to post some pictures soon - maybe of the houses I passed during my walk. It is tricky to get on the internet these days, because the connection I was piggybacking on in my room disappeared, and the Chuck's internet doesn't reach up to the fourth floor, so I have to bring my computer down to the lobby, where there are no outlets. But of course that is not why I haven't been posting regularly. I am just lazy and have always had trouble being motivated to write about things that have already happened or that I have already thought about. Sentence-ending preposition! So there.

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Chuck, listening to Passing Strange, and sometimes the Yardbirds, and sometimes Cream, and sometimes Robert Johnson, sometimes Rush. It’s blues Monday, I guess. Well, it’s been blues post-Chanuka December so far. There is something transporting about the blues, and yet so totally grounded. The blues gets me out of me and into me, out of my head and into my body, out of the mundane frustrations of my body and into the deepest part where the music lives.

I always think I love musical theatre, but then I listen to the blues. Fuck musical theatre. Fuck Christmas songs. Give me a song with a pulse that roots inside me and throbs inside me and blots out everything but what it’s doing.

Which makes it sound like I’m depressed and want to escape or something, which is not the impression I want to give. I’m not depressed. I’ve been moody since I’ve been here, and especially since Alex’s visit ended. It’s boring here and it’s lonely. But it is also peaceful, and it is also beautiful, in some ways. I mean, the problem with Bangor is that it’s too developed to be immersed in nature, and too underdeveloped to be fun and engaging and interesting and busy. The problem with Bangor, of course, is that it’s trying to be a city, in Maine. Whoops. But still, nature creeps in around the edges, and it is good. I took a walk last week after the snowstorm, for an hour through a residential neighborhood off to the corner of town. The houses were so cute, and the piles of snow on them so lovely, that I took pictures of a couple dozen (it felt weird taking pictures of people’s houses when they were out front shoveling their walk as I ambled touristly along. But whatevs, I did it anyway). It was cold but perfect out.

Today I walked down rainy Main St. to the grocery store, wearing jeans and my rain boots and a yellow-and-red striped shirt that makes me think of Harry Potter, and black gloves and a long pearly beady ambery necklace Alex gave me and a ponytail – I felt fun.

I have a lot of time to read. I picked up The Art of the Sonnet today from the library – 100 sonnets, with essays about them. I may or may not read the essays – most likely I’ll skim most of them, looking for stuff that’s actually interesting or about something I don’t understand in the poem, or stuff that causes me to go back and read the poem again, more slowly, and get something more out of it. I love sonnets, though. I think sonnets are the perfect poems. That’s not anything close to an original thought, of course, but I think that’s ok J. I went through a sonnet-writing phase senior year of high school; they weren’t good, mostly, but they taught me a little poetic discipline I had previously been lacking, and a new respect for the form. I haven’t written many poems at all since high school – too busy writing essays and songs, mostly – but when I started writing a poem about Bangor in my head a week or so after I got here, it turned into a sonnet, both in spirit and in form. A good one, I think.

There have been some really really beautiful paintings on display in the lobby here for the past few weeks (the Chuck is “Maine’s first art gallery hotel,” and, I think, its only; this seems to just mean that they display some art in the lobby and the first floor corridor, which art I assume can be bought by inquiring at the desk, but I don’t really know; I guess that’s all an art gallery is, really, is a place where art is shown and can maybe be bought, no matter the context). Anyway, I really really want to take some pictures of the paintings, but I don’t know if that’s allowed or legal or whatever, and the only times I’ve had my camera with me as I pass through the lobby there has been someone at the front desk, and I don’t want to risk their wrath. I should start carrying the camera with me every time, and maybe I’ll catch the lobby at a totally empty moment. If I had money, I would buy one of these paintings in a heartbeat, but of course even the smaller ones are several hundred dollars. They are mostly somewhat surreal, but beautiful, scenes in the snow: a scene with a heart in the air, and a girl made of empty space on a swing also made of empty space, hanging from a wiggly tree; a tree whose branches form a heart, with a girl standing next to it, the sky a haze of autumn; a white-space moose on a cliff overlooking a forest view and night sky, both in shades of blue-grey. None of these descriptions do the paintings any justice, of course, and neither would a photograph, although it would come closer. It’s just, now that I’ve seen them, I can’t bear the thought of not seeing them again.

When I am rich, I will buy art.

There’s a modern sonnet by Derek Walcott, called “The morning moon”; the end of it goes thusly: “…I notice the blue plunge / of shadows down Morne Coco Mountain, / December’s sundial, / happy that the earth is still changing, / that the full moon can blind me with her forehead / this bright foreday morning, / and that fine sprigs of white are springing from my beard.” I’m listening to “Keys” from Passing Strange, and it feels like that poem, and I feel like that poem too, here, sometimes, here in Bangor. During my best hours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Chanuka!

Hello! I thought it was past time for an update!

Bangor is fine. The show opened this weekend and is going very well - they actors are exhausted, but they're starting to hit their stride. It should be really really great by next weekend.

I've been taking some little walks and looking around local stores. I can't go much of anywhere because I don't have the car, but I'm hoping to get it for a day or two this week so I can make some explorations. Or at least next week! Sometime in the next three days I will make a couple latkes - I have been lighting my menora every night and opening Judy's exciting Chanuka presents! Actually, I have it lit for the fourth night today, because I was gone from 2:00 to 1am last night (rehearsal; two shows; went out after the show with everyone to celebrate opening) and obviously did not have a chance to light it then! Also sometime in the next three days, I will go over to Ben's place (he's in the show) and bake - he invited me to make use of his kitchen! So that will be great. And I'll take some more extended walks, I think, maybe go to the gym, get some good reading in, like that.

Alex came up the week of Thanksgiving, which was delightful! We went to Bar Harbor, a little town on the coast, the day before Thanksgiving, and had a lovely - if freezing - time. We went out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, which was lovely although of course not as good as being home with everyone, and ate Chinese the day after that. On Saturday he went home :(. But it was a lovely week - he was my house-husband! It was great! He made me dinner and went grocery shopping for me and did the dishes and returned my library books and walked me to and from work and brought me snacks in the middle of the day! That is the life, man.

Anyway, I am enjoying my work here - I would love to come back and do another show here again - and I enjoy the company, and I hope to find a job somewhere for the spring (I sent my resume to a student group at Johns Hopkins who are looking for a music director for Evita, but they haven't gotten back to me), but I will be glad to go back to New York in three weeks. I miss Alex and my roommates and also the busy-ness of the city (although the fresh air out here is delicious, let me tell you!), and my own kitchen with all my supplies and ingredients.

But in the meantime, here I am, and it is good, and happy Chanuka!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bangor Life

I thought I should give y'all some pics of my Bangor life!

So here are a few of my suite at the Charles Inn...

I have so much space!

And here is the Penobscot Theatre!

It is beautiful and large!

Rehearsals have been going really well. The music is very hard, but it sounds great when it clicks! The cast and staff are delightful, and the show is going to be really fun. I get to sit at a baby grand on a big platform upstage center, and they are going to put me in a sparkly gown!

I have been taking advantage of the theatre's deal with the ymca and working out regularly, so I feel great. The weather is brisk but not too cold; for the last few days I haven't even needed to wear my coat! It's supposed to snow after Thanksgiving, which should be exciting. Alex is coming to visit on monday, and we are invited to Thanksgiving at the house of one of the production manager, which should be lovely. So basically, it is pretty neat here!

I have also been taking advantage of the gorgeous, enormous public library!

These are just pictures of the first floor!
There are three floors,
and each floor is very large!
They have so many stacks!

And yet, the library is not my favorite building in town.

Here is my favorite building in town:

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I've had better luck with my sourdough in the last week! Before I came to maine, of course.

Here are a couple loaves I made after babying my starter for a week or two - keeping it on the warm oven, feeding it totally faithfully, making sure it's cloth cover isn't askew:

Aren't they beautiful? And they taste exactly like sourdough should! The crusts aren't as perfect as commercial crusts, but that's because I don't have the right tools - a stone bread baking bowl, for example - and other than that, they're exactly what I want in my sourdough loaves!

Here is the recipe.

I also left my roommates with a couple loaves of this bread - I used half white flour and half whole wheat - which, if you double the recipe but bake it all in one pan as one loaf, makes this big, delicious loaf with a fluffily uneven crumb, perfect for sandwiches or toast. I've been eating it toasted with cream cheese for breakfast!



The eggs rest on
sourdough French baguette.
Oh, delicious, delicious cholesterol.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Hello! Here I am in Bangor, maine!

Bangor is super cute. Suuuuper cute. Scott (the artistic director at Penobscot, the theater where I'm working) said to me as he drove me on a little tour of the town, "I like to say that Bangor has one of everything - and only one of anything. But it's enough!" He seems to be right. There's a Thai place, a Chinese place, a kosher bagel place (although the bagels there are weird), an Italian place, an American place, a Pakistani place, a cafe... you get the picture. There's a gym (the Y), a library (the biggest per-capita circulating library in the US), a toy store, a window-shade store, a clothing store, a post office, the airport, and a celebrity house (Stephen King, of course!). And of course a theater.

I ate at the bagel place for lunch on monday when I arrived in town (the bagels are soft, like bread - maybe they don't boil them? that's what Debby and I think) and the Thai place for dinner (mmmmmmmmm delicious! the rice pudding for dessert - exactly perfect!); I'm staying at the hotel two blocks from the theater (of course, everything is two blocks away in downtown Bangor): The Charles Inn, maine's first art gallery hotel! Which seems to mean that they put up some local art in the lobby. It's very cute, actually, clean and pretty and recently renovated. I have a suite on the top (fourth) floor (so fancy!): my bedroom with desk and my living room/kitchenette with extra chest of drawers, large coffee table, and four-person dining room table. I'll post pictures soon! I mean, it's your generic nice-ish hotel room, but it feels homey and pleasant, and I've never had this much space to myself before! It's a little peculiar, but there are things to like about it.

Rehearsals are fun; everyone here is great. One of the actors, it turns out, lives just a block away from me in Sunnyside, which is neat. I have a lot of time this morning before rehearsal at 3, so I'm going to stop blogging now and finish up a couple letters and then venture outside into this beautiful sunny day, my first free and un-exhausted block of time in which to explore!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It's been a rough week - it got cold, and I'm ready to be working but not really ready to leave again, and I've had a lot of time hanging out at home by myself recently - but today got better!

It was cold and rainy outside, so I dressed up in my warmest clothes - tights, jeans, socks knitted by Ruthy, rain boots, camisole, t-shirt, hoodie, winter coat and scarf (both red!), gloves from Aunt Carolyn (purple!), earmuffs from Alex's parents (turquoise!) - and grabbed some library books and an umbrella (green!) and headed outside. When I'm having fun being dressed so warmly, the cold is fun and enlivening rather than draining and depressing. I walked around the neighborhood, shopping and window shopping and enjoying the day and getting some activity, for a good three hours! I went into CVS, Duane Reade, and Rite Aid, looking for straight razors for Alex and a plastic soap carrier for me, and eventually found both. I am weirdly fond of drugstores, it turns out. I looked at many flower shops and eventually bought myself a bouquet. I spent forty-five minutes in the library reading, and watched the library clerks chase out a couple sleepy drunks. I went into a piano store and looked at the sheet music and inquired as to prices for pianos (~$1400). I bought a decaf peppermint mocha from Starbucks, and when I told the cashier how excited I always am for their holiday specials, he told me that I could in fact order a peppermint mocha any time of the year!! I now feel that I possess a truly amazing secret. And on the way back to the apartment, Cheryl called, and I ended up sitting on the steps chatting with her for almost an hour!

It was all very delightful. When I got back, I baked sourdough bread, and did all the dishes and cleaned the counters and tidied up and swept the whole apartment, and put my beautiful colorful flowers in a vase, and ate lunch, and listened to the Wailin' Jennies and the Smith Sisters and Joan Baez, and blogged, and all in all have had a pretty good day so far since the time I stepped outside. I don't know what I'll do with the rest of the evening until I go to bed - evenings are harder than afternoons, because I have mostly done what I want to do and it is dark and I am tired before bedtime and no one will be home until midnight - but I'm sure I will figure something out! Actually, I haven't read much today; maybe I'll put in a couple hours and finish up The Thief!

Good night :)

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

So Alex and Jamie and I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear) on Saturday! This was the rally held by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report. It was really fun! I have mixed feelings about the politics and morals of it all - some of it was really good, some of it was weak and privileged and maybe even detrimental to the actual message - but all in all, it was a really good time, and it felt good to be there, and we were really glad we went.

We didn't register in time to get on one of the free buses the Huffington Post was offering, so we had to pay to take a private rally bus, which, you know, too bad, but ok. The bus had way more comfortable seats than the Greyhound Alex and I took to and from monmouth (excuse the lower-case "m"s, please; I'm copy-pasting every m still, and I don't want to deal with switching back and forth from capital to lower-case!), and was generally a pleasant ride. We also had a reporter from a major Australian news station on our bus, and he interviewed me for quite some time! I think I was articulate and intelligent - or anyway, I hope I was! - and hopefully I was on Australian TV on Sunday or monday! I wonder how I could find out... wait, actually, Alex has the email of the reporter! We can email him and ask! Alex is curious about seeing an Australian show that doesn't air in the US anyway. Anyway, also he filmed Alex and Jamie and me just talking about politics and our families and stuff for a while, which was also neat.

The buses left at 5 am and arrived in D.C. around 9:30; we made our way to the mall, where the rally was being held near the steps of the Capitol. We squeezed through the tens of thousands of people (multiple estimates suggest that there were 250,000 people there, although of course rally size estimates are always highly guess-y) to a place relatively in the middle, where we could have seen the stage if we were seven feet tall and where we could kind of mostly see a couple of the big screens. We amused ourselves until the rally started at noon by reading the many fascinating and hilarious signs we saw around us, and chatting with the nutty people next to us, and snacking (we packed basically all the food in the house, and it was still gone by the end of the rally, and we had to buy dinner, and all of the restaurants had a two hour wait because of the 250,000 people flooding downtown, so we ate at mcdonalds and it was disgusting but fine).

When the rally started, there was music, and also the guys from mythbusters, none of which was that entertaining because I couldn't really see anything. But! when Stewart and Colbert came on, they were so entertaining and fun, as were their musical guests - Cat Stevens, Ozzy (!), Love Train, John Legend, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennet - that it didn't matter that it was a mostly auditory experience. I had so much fun! There was for sure enough funny and enough talent and even enough message to fill the remaining 2 hours of the rally.

At the end, Jon came back onstage for 20 minutes and gave the sincere speech that was really the heart of the rally. The speech was basically a plea to be civil with each other; to remember that we are not each other's enemies; to recall that unlike what the media says is possible or impossible, we work together every day no matter what our politics are; to condemn hatred and hyperbole on the parts of both sides of the political spectrum; and to point out that while the media didn't necessarily create the problems in this country, it aggravates them by giving us 24/7 messages of fear and gridlock and doom and depression.

The speech was moving, no doubt; it was often right on, to be sure; and it may have been what the country needed to hear around now. Certainly the media pits people against each other and exaggerates problems and fearmongers; certainly the discourse in this country has degenerated to a morass of superficial bullshit and hatred; certainly calling someone Hitler is always uncalled for; certainly the left wing is not exempt from hypocrisy or shallow analysis.


that said, I think his speech was also somewhat disingenuous, in a problematic way. It is flat out wrong, for one thing, to suggest that the hate speak and the hyperbole and the shallow, inflammatory rhetoric on the left is anywhere in the same universe as the same flaws on the right. Anti-war activists, some of whom occasionally exaggerate or leap to conclusions, but who are virtually all entirely grassroots, are not in the same ballpark as astro-turf tea partiers, many of whom are explicitly racist and who repeat lies on a regular basis and are egged on and told what to say by Fox News and the massive funding behind it. Keith Olbermann and Rachel maddow are not the same as Glenn Beck. They just aren't. There is just no parallel. Left-wing pundits tend to be center-left; right wing pundits move farther to the right every day.

Furthermore, calling someone racist - or at least calling out their actions and words as racist - is completely appropriate, and neither hateful nor hyperbolic - if their actions and words are in fact racist, if they do in fact demonstrate hatred or prejudice. If we can't call out racism, how can we end it? Calling someone racist or misogynist or otherwise bigoted is not the same as calling someone Hitler, or as inaccurately calling someone a socialist. The former is a way of speaking out against oppression and for progress and - dare I say it - for civility!

The way Stewart equated these things falls into the hands of the right wing and disguises much of the genuine problems in our political discourse. The neoconservative movement has spent the last forty years pressuring the media into presenting opposing opinions in search of balance, rather than looking for and presenting facts and making sensible analysis. They have pushed the idea that there are two equivalent sides to every story, and that even if the right-wing position is extreme and not representative of most Americans, it deserves to be aired as if it is equally legitimate with a left or center-left position. Acting and speaking as if current left-wing and right-wing discourse are equivalent is doing the same thing: It is presenting the two sides as if they are equivalent, and thereby swinging the discussion towards the right by failing to recognize and condemn the current right-wing for what it is (i.e. singularly and incomparably filled with extremists, hate-mongerers, and lies).

I understand that Stewart is trying to be bipartisan and fair, and that that is especially important for him so that he can escape being labeled as incorrect due to his liberal bias (which he certainly has and has never hidden). But in his efforts to be bipartisan he has erased something vital, and has made his message less relevant and less radical (by radical I don't mean extreme, but fundamental, back to the roots, vital). Plus, it is his privilege as a straight, white, wealthy man that allows him to do so without pangs of conscience. Activists on the left - even those seen (and condemned by Stewart) as extreme - are so moved to activism and rhetoric because right-wing policies hurt them directly. Stewart can condemn people who condemn and passionately fight against the right wing for its anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-muslim, anti-poor policies, because he's not the one being paid less because of his gender, or being told he shouldn't practice his religion, or being fired because of his gender presentation, or dying from botched abortions or hate crimes or hunger. Yes, he is a liberal, and yes, he is mostly on the side of human and civil rights for everyone, but by acting as if angry speech from both sides of the political spectrum are equivalent, he is silencing and discrediting a lot of people with less privilege than he has, when he maybe should in fact be giving them a voice. In this way, he's not progressive, he's regressive. He's undermining his own beliefs - which, again, he can afford to do, because he is never going to be hurt by it.

Well, ok, that's my rant about that. Had to get it off my chest :). And it's not to say that he didn't say some things that need to be said, or that the core of his message (that the media is fanning the fire, and that hyperbole and hate and inaccuracy are hurting a country in which we have the capability of working together) isn't valid. And I still like Jon Stewart and I'll still watch the Daily Show, and I had a good time at the rally. But I couldn't let the flaws and the problems and the privileges of it all go unremarked on.

You can look here and here for reactions similar to mine (I highly recommend watching the Olbermann video, at least the beginning of it before the interview part, which is kind of boring).

And you can look here for a really excellent musicalized version of his speech, by a group who has also created such gems as this (from the original), this (from the original), and this (possibly my favorite!).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

Today Alex and I met at Chocolate By the Bald Man for a snack date after he finished his errands in the city! It was lovely and delicious; we got a hazelnut cream chocolate milkshake - the best, oh so good, mmm, vanilla bourbon ice cream, dark chocolate truffle, whipped cream - and the chicken bacon cheddar rolls on sticks with buttermilk dressing. The food there always sounds kind of mundane and unappealing to me, but I have learned not to feel that way, because the flavors are always so incredible! Oh, man, that buttermilk dressing....

Yesterday I made those delicious chocolate espresso cookies that Ruthy loves! Phew, they are so good. I keep them in the Madeleine lunchbox that Ruthy gave me! I get a lot of compliments on that lunchbox. That is because it is a great lunchbox. I also get a lot of compliments on those cookies! That is because they are great cookies.

The "m" key on my keyboard is freaking out! It is really hard to get it to make an M when I push it! But I just got my screen fixed, and I am not yet ready to deal with more computer repairs! That said, once I got to the right person with Dell last time, it was really fast and easy from there, and free because I have the extended warrantly. And now I have the direct phone number, so it actually wouldn't be that much work. Maybe I will get it fixed, then, before I go to Maine.

I started recording the Plaid Tidings score today, for the choreographer; Pro Tools - my new recording software - is certainly high quality, and capable of doing anything I need it to do, but is super finicky and does not come with adequate instructions, so it can be very frustrating to work with! Still, once I get the hang of it, and it starts to feel straightforward and automatic, I think it's going to be very useful - especially as I will be able to record vocal reels for aspiring singers, and charge good money for it!

I've started copy-pasting every "m" I need to type. I think this a sign that I should call Dell already :P

Anyway, Alex and I just bought two trash cans for our room - one for trash and the other for paper recycle. Look how great they are!:
Ok, how great one of them is. For some reason, I can't successfully download the picture of the other one! Here it is on the website. (Of course I remembered too late that we are supposed to be boycotting Target. I can't keep all the places I can't shop in my head! I do pretty well at remembering Nike, Old Navy, Whole Foods, and Nestle, but after that I lose track.)

But Target does have many exciting wastebaskets, as you can see! This one - which we did not buy - is my actual favorite.
It reminds me of something you would find on Catalog Living! Now if only I could think of a good caption....

Ok, well, in the meantime, now back to reading Like Water for Chocolate! (It turns out I do, in fact, like magical realism in some cases, just not ridiculous upsetting super depressing magical realism with, like, witches and angry pig corpses. I like magical realism with some romance to it! I like whimsical magical realism! I like it in, for example, books like the ones by Sarah Addison Allen, or, for another example, Like Water for Chocolate.)

P.S. Here is a great video! (The blog it's on is great, too.)

P.P.S. Ok, for some reason the link to Catalog Living doesn't work! The address is, and if that doesn't work either, just searching for "Catalog Living" should lead you to it. It is well worth checking out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun with Books!

In rainbow order...

...and in rainbow shape!

Everything, but Mostly Food!

So I've been at home for a couple weeks, and baking up a storm!

I made Practically Perfect Cookies, which I thought was Aunt Carolyn's recipe but which she doesn't recognize the name of, but anyway they are delicious chocolate chip cookies and I used Ghirardelli bittersweet, semisweet, and white chocolate chips in them and it was great.

I also have made two loaves of sourdough since I've been back. I made the first one in a loaf pan, to be sure it would rise up instead of out (the problem I had with my last few loaves);

the second one I made into a free-form boule loaf but rose it for only 4 hours instead of 12-until-doubled, so although it rose out instead of up in the bowl, it had some rising power left to poof in the oven. It didn't poof as high as it was supposed to (maybe the dough was too soft and not gluteny enough? I'll try adding more flour next time) and was quite dense, but it wasn't the biscotti loaf of August.

That said, neither of them tasted of sourdough! Which is very confusing and frustrating. I know my starter is still alive - and for the second loaf, it was freshly fed - because it is rising the bread, and also it still smells like it did before. But it must be a starter problem, because what else could it be? I wish I'd frozen a bit of the starter before I left for Maine, in case something went wrong like this. I'm going to keep trying for a couple more loaves, and ask the internet some more about what might be going on, but I am kind of bummed.

Oh well! I have also made regular white, whole wheat, and butternut squash bread since I've been back, and also a beautiful butternut squash pie,

Also I made a tiny adorable pastry roll-up
with the leftover pie dough.
It was delicious.

and also a really weird attempt at chai ice cream,

The makings of chai. So beautiful!
Too bad it turned out so
and so weirdly

and also a delicious dark chocolate ice cream! So food is going well :)

Alex and I have been buying our groceries at the farmers' market and Trader Joe's as much as we can (there are THREE Trader Joe'ses in New York now, so they are all much less impacted!), which is leading us to cook more, as we have more ingredients and less pre-prepared/box food. We made free-range chicken breast with mustard sauce (a recipe my mother modified deliciously) the other day, on whole wheat rice, and it was great! And I cooked up some whole wheat rotini one day, and tossed it with olive oil, parmesan-like cheese from the farmers' market, and garlic and fresh basil also from the farmers' market. Mmm, delicious!

I don't know why this is sideways.

And Alex has been learning to make pasta sauce out of fresh tomatoes.

It is a good food month!

Also, Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Thomas were in New York the other night, after what sounded like a lovely two week trip through autumnal New England, and took Alex and me out to dinner at Manetta's Fine Foods, a lovely and scrumptious Italian restaurant in Long Island City near Hunter's Point. I had spaghetti carbonara; Alex had smoked salmon pasta; Aunt Carolyn had linguini nere (colored black with squid ink!); Uncle Thomas had lasagna; and I finished with a delicious (but large!) creme brulee. I will be going back there, for sure!

While we're talking food, I should mention the date Alex and I went on while still in Maine. We decided we'd head for the coast, although we didn't know where. We located a little town called Richmond on the map, only half an hour away, and headed that way. The drive was beauuuuuuuutiful, all fiery trees and winding highways and rain;

Richmond was less beautiful, as it was neither exactly on the coast nor a cute town. Tiny and economically depressed looking, actually. But we drove on down the highway, wandering in and out of towns, until we found Freeport, which is not on the coast either, but which is super cute! We wandered in and out of stores and around the streets, looked at restaurant menus, and finally went into the Azure Cafe, and upscale and relaxing little joint that made us feel very adult. (Although, as Lorelei put it on an episode of Gilmore Girls I just watched: "You know what grown-ups never do? Talk about how grown up they are.) We ordered an appetizer of spinach artichoke dip with crostini; the crostini were perfectly crunchy and neutral, and the dip felt like delicious, delicious air in my mouth. It was like nothing was on my tongue except the taste of heaven!

For our entrees, we went all out: "Filet Tartuffe," a filet mignon with black truffles and crimini mushrooms and gorgonzola mousse and garlic mashed potatoes; and, of course, lobster!

Also, by the way, there was delicious salad,
and I don't even like salad.

I don't know why this picture is sideways either.

Lobster. Also, butter.

Oh, what a good day.

Now out of the reverie and on to today! I'm going to break topic and not talk about food, now!

Yesterday was lovely. Alex and I went on a walk and ended up in the park, where we sat and played cribbage at one of the chess tables (adjacent to the chess table occupied by the regular chess-players). That is what we do recently to get out of the house and relax, and it is great. Then Jamie and I went shopping, and I bought a black blouse in an effort to diversify my work clothes, and a purple sweater at Express. The sweater was $40, but it was the most beautiful thing I have seen in weeks, and it fit me perfectly, and I don't have anything that color, and I hardly ever buy clothes anyway, so there.

It is more beautiful without the belt,
and it is also more purple than it appears in this picture.
Hopefully, you will see it in person soon!

I also, much to his delight, bought Alex a purple button-down to replace the one he lost while I was at camp. I also tried on a really cute, pseudo-business-y grey dress at H&M, which I don't need but might go back and buy with my gift card, and also at Express a pale pink strapless ruched minidress, which looked super hot on me but was $98 and which therefore I did not buy.

I want this dress.

Then, when Jamie had to leave for rehearsal, I took the train up to Bryant Park, where I tried Lilly O'Brien's for the first time. It's a "chocolate cafe" on the south side of the park, with all different kinds of hot chocolate and coffee and hot chocolate coffee. I got a dark hot chocolate (and a couple pieces of dark chocolate), which was delicious, and sat and read my book (Insatiable, by Meg Cabot, which I wasn't going to read because it is a vampire romance and it got bad reviews, but which I picked up in the library and ended up checking out because I feel that I should always give Meg Cabot a chance because I love so much of her stuff, and because it references Dr. Zizmor on the first page, and Dr. Zizmor is my favorite subway advertisement by far. Unfortunately, it is not a good book. Everything else I've read by her [and I think I've read everything she's written, including her adult romances under pen names, excepting her Allie Finkle middle-grade series] is light and goofy but engaging and clever and well-written and fun. Insatiable, on the other hand, is info-dump-y and heavy on the description and poorly edited and has an awkwardly brooding vampire male love interest, and also I am pretty sure her publisher just insisted that she capitalize on the vampire trend, because A) it is about a TV writer who is forced to write a vampire plotline even though she doesn't want to because she is tired of vampires in the media and thinks the whole shebang is misogynist and stupid, and basically it is like Sara Bareilles telling her producer via song that she is not going to write him a love song, except if that song were also a love song; and B) it does not read like a lot of effort went into it. That said, I am still reading it.) and it was lovely, and then I went home and watched football and also the baseball playoffs, although I had to turn off the Giants game in the 5th or 6th inning because it was too depressing. At least we are back in PacBell for the next game! That park is our 10th and best fielder.

Anyway, that is all for now. I will try to blog more often, and then I will only have to do little blogs, like when I started, and then I won't procrastinate it because it seems like so much work and time to catch up on everything! That said, it is fun when I am doing it, so I shouldn't procrastinate it anyway :) The end.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Apple Town!

We went apple-picking! It was great. Kathleen, the stage manager, drove us up to the Ricker Hill farms, where we stopped in at the store for delicious homemade pumpkin doughnuts and a bag to be filled with 10 lb of apples. We also explored the corn maze, which Tony figured out on the first try. Then we went out to the orchards! Where there were apple slings, which were fun!

Also, there were apples, of course. The apples were enormous and sweet - I don't even really like apples, but there were some delicious ones that I had several bites of and enjoyed a lot - and we had a lovely time wandering through the orchards, although the signs were sometimes confusing.

We also found a discarded pre-paid ten pound bag sitting on the ground, and we naturally couldn't let it go to waste... so in the end we came home with twenty pounds of apples! They are still not quite gone, although we have been eating plenty of apple cake and apple cookies and apple fritter! Actually, I take that back. I think they are gone as of today - two weeks after we went picking.

On the 25th, which was Alex's and my one-year anniversary, Nikki's parents came to visit, and they took us out to lunch at Da Vinci's, a super delicious Italian restaurant - I ordered some fancy and excellent ravioli - after Alex, Nikki, Tony, and I had explored AppleFest in the morning. AppleFest happens once a year in Monmouth, and is very cute. There are booths selling apples, of course, and the old corn processing building is open, as are the two Monmouth museums, and also there is a scarecrow contest! We did not have time to build our own scarecrows, but we did have time to pick favorites!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Is great!

Working with adults is great, too. They learn their music ahead of time! They have years of training and experience! I can give artistic notes, instead of making melodic compromises!

Don't get me wrong - I love love love working with kids - but this is a delightful break.

In other news: I get to work with adults again, soon! I got hired to music direct Plaid Tidings at the Penobscot Theatre on Bangor. Yay!

Now for updates on the past three weeks.

I live in Toad Hall, which is a sprawling, old Victorian house across the street from the theatre, which is in Cumston Hall, which also houses the library.

Toad Hall

Cumston Hall

My new library card!

Alex and I got here on the Greyhound through Boston. We had a good time!

Alex and me, having a good time

I read If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino (which is written in the second person, and which I highly recommend! It is a weird book! But neat.), and also watched episodes of Gilmore Girls. Alex read Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke.

Anyway, we got to Lewiston successfully, and were picked up by Dave, the producing director at the Theater at Monmouth, who delivered us to the supermarket, where we met Nikki, Tony, and Colleen, our delightful housemates. (Joey came later in the weekend, because he was working at the US Open.) We soon arrived at the house, where we moved into our room.

One angle of our room. There is another bed,
which is the one we actually sleep on,
hidden by the door.
Also, two more dressers.
There is more furniture in this room
than in my room in New York -
which is saying a lot!
Well, actually,
now that the black dresser is out of the bedroom,
things are looking a lot better.
But still.

Anyway, it is a perfectly lovely room, with lovely views of the backyard and of the street. It is not even cold anymore, now that we found a space heater in the laundry room/bathroom.

The house holds around 18 people in the summer, for the proper season, so it is positively roomy with only six of us - just the perfect amount of space, actually. Four bathrooms; one on each floor, and one of which is also a laundry room. The kitchen is wooden and upstairs, which is weird, but it is functional. Eight bedrooms, five of which are occupied and one of which contains about ten mattresses, all in a stack. Two living rooms and a dining room. Also, adjoining, the scene and costume shops and relevant storage, but we don't venture there often. Dave buys our groceries, so we eat delicious food, which we frequently cook together or at least for each other. It is lovely!

We also, because Monika, who is in the Pirates cast, has a semi-adopted barn cat who just had five kittens, and needed someone to foster them, have three kittens!

From top to bottom:
Climbing Gus;

I am trying to convince Jamie to try to convince Rita, our landlord, to modify her no-pets policy. But then I would have to pick only one or two to adopt! I don't know how to choose! Pip is super chill and sleeps a lot and is not afraid of anyone and also is kind of adventurous. Climbing Gus will climb onto your shoulder, and also onto other things, and is super playful but also will cuddle when tired and is the smallest and therefore the cutest. Kaipo was the scarediest to start with, and is still nervous about new situations and new people, but is actually very curious and cuddly, sort of in between the cuddliness of Pip and the activity of Gus.

So difficult to choose!

But I probably won't even have to choose, because probably we can't have cats. Alas. We will see.

Anyway, as you can see, this is a fun house, with fun people and animals! I have to go eat lunch now, and take a walk, but I will update again this week! Next up: Apple picking; AppleFest; Narnia tea party; Freeport; delicious baked goods.