Friday, August 31, 2007


I cannot believe I'm sitting here and blogging instead off going upstairs and printing the stuff out I'll need for teaching tomorrow morning! There would be lots of things to do actually, but I sit here glued to the spot - well no, I'm keeping G company who is finding her way through Adobe Illustrator painting pictures we'll need tomorrow. Why is everything always last minute? Is anybody else leaving things late as well or am I the only one. It does feel like everyone else is always so well prepared and organised- just not me. In my defense I have to say that I have been fighting with my computer and internet in the morning, trying to use my online banking which didn't want to let me use it. It ended in lots of cursing and me stamping into the Bank (thankfully there is a branch in walking distance) in order to complain and make them change my standing orders there and then. Obviously this unplanned event held me up in my time plan - other things that threw me back. Oh yeah, I put on the washing machine - and forgot to press the play button (twice!) NOT my day. Not even in the bank when I thought I'd have time to read my new book: there was almost no queue. I swear if I'd forgotten to take the book I'd have waited for hours! So not many breaks, no knitting (although my green jumper is almost finished and looks at me reproachfully) and not much reading.
On a happier note my new book is really great. It's Encounters With the Invisible by Dorothy Wall. It's about her life with CFS . It is my very first book I bought about CFS and I'm only on page 34, but I really like it. Why did I never buy any book about it before? I don't know, maybe it's too close to me to read about it. I'll post a review of the book once I manage to read rest of it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My socks arrived!

Today was my turn to get the sockapalooza socks and I love them!
My pal from Rose Red spoiled me good. She had sent anonymous emails (with the most hilarious made up name) to ask some questions since I didn't have a blog then. She did a good job spying ever since I have the blog!
She knitted the most wonderful socks with hand painted yarn from The Knittery (colour water lilies) - and yes before you ask they do fit perfectly. She sent an email some days ago apologising that my socks would be delayed because she had been sick, but it was worth the wait.
To make up for the delay she included some goodies, sugar free treats and some Australian coffee. As you can see in the picture I'm already wearing the socks. It was a bit of a challenge to take that picture with one foot up on the bed.
I remembered that looking through sockapalooza blogs I noticed those specific socks already. I quite liked the colour and also it was one of those sock patterns which I'd like to knit (because it looks lovely) but it would just drive me insane. Thank you, thank you, my sock pal!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Proms II

Despite the miserable weather I queued for a ticket for the Proms yesterday. A, my oldest friend and M, my sister's friend both played in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra which performed in yesterday's concert. For everyone who knows them, you will be able to just about see them on the left side of the podium. Maestro Abbado conducted and mezzo Anna Larsson was the soloist in Mahler's third symphony.
I was the last one to get a ticket to the arena - something went wrong with the complementary tickets A tried, but orchestra members had huge problems to get even family members into the dress rehearsal on Tuesday. I only got a ticket because G pushed me forward when the usher only wanted one last person in, and there were still 3 in front of us...not something I would usually do.
I felt so sorry for G who then had to go home as she couldn't get in through the gallery. It was a shame, because there seemed to be enough space up there. If it wouldn't have been raining almost all day, I don't think we would have had a single change to get a ticket at all. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra is always very popular and it proves impossible to get tickets in Lucerne itself.
Having heard them yesterday I have to say I understand this. You always hear critics rave about the perfect orchestra sound, but this one really has a special sound. It was a perfect balance of strings, wood winds and brass, even the right balance between violins and celli/double basses (ok that's a former string player speaking here). I very much enjoyed maestro Abbado conducting, a real conductor, no need for 'special effects' simple yet effective communication with the orchestra. If you have the opportunity to see them, try to get a ticket it's worth it!
I waited at the stage door for A and M and went on to an improvised party that M and her boyfriend were having in their hotel room. I haven't seen M for about 5 years when my sister and I bumped into her doing our last Christmas shopping, but she hasn't changed a bit. G suggested she is using a cell renewing shower gel. I couldn't stay for long, but it was great fun to see them all. It made me feel like a teenager again, so many summers we used to hang out together at the Varga Festival in Sion. And of course A has known me all my life or rather the other way round as I'm three month older. So despite having caught a slight cold standing in the rain yesterday I feel blessed having been able to meet up with old friends.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two Welcome Socks

Presents! Gifts! My lovely Sockapalooza4 Sock Pall Ann sent me a pair of beautiful socks in - guess! - Monkey pattern :) All the way from Vancouver, Canada. And she didn't stop there, I also received some great hand painted yarn from See Jayne Knit (colour 'Surf's Up') and some very cute little stitch markers - just what I was still missing for my next lace project. But let pictures speak for themselves: here are my new lovely goodies:

Thank you, Ann!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quiet stars

Finally I have some time to write about my week with London Opera Vocal. I made pictures of the rehearsals. The one on the left was made through the glass window of the door. S, one of our wonderful tutors is working on a duet with two amateur singers in the top floor rehearsal room at the National Opera Studio. They were working so intensively that I didn't want to break their concentration - so I took the picture through the glass door. The entire week I was surprised by the enthusiasm and willingness of these amateur singers to work hard. Two productions, Beggar's Opera (short version) and Mozart's Ladies, were put on stage within this week, plus a number of concerts featuring solo arias or ensembles - some of them semi-staged by the singers. All of this happened in a rather relaxed atmosphere as you can see in this picture of my friend K's feet (who was one of the tutors), here playing piano for the Beggar's Opera rehearsal. K's being on the team included going to the pub after the work was done. We had to be out of the building by 5.30 and the weather was great (not like now when it's raining). Susan has put up all the pictures from the rehearsal and performances on the LOV website. Go there and check them out, they are pretty cool! Another nice thing on this year's course was to meet C, one of the new tutors. I had heard her playing years ago in the Finale of the Kathleen Ferrier Competititon. I have to say I cannot remember who she played for (shame on me), but her piano playing was absolutely fabulous. She was a real asset to have on the team and she was very easy going. She didn't even mind me taking a million pictures in her classes which usually disrupts the precious time that singers can spent alone (or with their ensembles) and a pianist to work on the pieces. After having done extensive German coaching last year I ended up doing Italian coaching! Not my speciality, but I coped well and coached the enthusiastic male duet from the Opera I Puritani. Suoni la tromba. Besides dragging 12 heart-shaped balloons through the street to the performance venue (thankfully G was free that weekend and worked with me!) and buying 'tenor safe confetti' - the wedding confetti out of a small bomb apparently lead to near castration of the main character in a course last year - I got to teach a couple of singers on their arias. Passing on 'my wisdom' to people who are definitely older than me always feels slightly strange, but then I have to remember that I have done much more as a singer than they will probably ever do. So yes - wisdom it is :-)
The rest of this Sunday will be devoted to not working at all, since I have worked for the last 13 days with out a break, more about this in another post. All the results of this will be online soon to share. I will go back to listening to my audio book and knitting my jumper. Does this not sound like a great Sunday?

Monday, August 6, 2007

One stessful week

Wow! I just go away for two days to Germany and G makes me a pair of Monkey socks! I should do this more often :-) They are super comfortable, well G made them to measure for my feet - silly me! I thought she was just taking measure for her sock pal who has about the same size.
I had a great week working for London Opera Vocal's summer course and flying to Germany for two days to sort out some things. I went to Wiesbaden where the the ADAC (motor recovery service) was promoting a new package deal and was handing out giraffes with a magnet to put on the fridge. Two girls were walking up and down the pedestrian zone and I must have managed to look really sad because the second time they came past I got one. I'll post details of last week's course later in the week as work. For the moment, enjoy the Giraffe pics for a great start to the week.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

socks, socks, socks and monkey addiction

Here they are: the Sockapalooza4 socks for my sock pal.... very simple ones - and I hope she will enjoy the soft Poison Nr.5 superwash yarn from Wollmeise. And again, ready to be posted off to my sock pal on Saturday.

But why stop there? Once sucked into the addiction to sock knitting, I could not leave it at that, could I?! In-between finishing my Ocean coloured Sea Silk shawl project (to be displayed here, once I have had some time for blocking it - by the way, any good blocking advice for over-sized shawls/stoles from anyone?) and continuing with the Lana Grossa 'Gala Print' jacket for my mum, I just couldn't resist the current monkey sock craze.

Thanks, M., for getting me 'hooked' to this new habit....! So here is one pair in "Rittersporn" for me (!!!!!) below and one in "Poison Nr. 5" for M on the left.