Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Snow in The Hoot.

There's snow in Parry Sound. Not much, but enough that I wish I could be there. It's early to be reminiscing about Christmas, but I'm inspired. I spent my childhood Christmases with my grandparents there, and would absorb every minute detail of the winter light, the scent of the air, and the sky over the Bay.

My mother and I both grew up in Toronto - her parents didn't move to Parry Sound until the 1970s. Mom's childhood Christmases were green Toronto ones, and that's what she was nostalgic about. Mine, on the other hand, were almost always white Parry Sound Christmases, and I couldn't understand why a green and grey Christmas in swampy old Toronto would appeal to anyone.

We'd drive there on Christmas Eve, it seemed more often that not in a raging snowsquall. My mother would clutch the dashboard for dear life, constantly repeating, "Edward! Slow down!" My father would insist that everything was fine, that he was going slow. I would gawk out the back window blissfully, unstressed, soaking up every nuance of the swirling snow and looking for Christmas lights on little cottages in the twilight. When we got to my grandparents' house, I'd head straight for their big bay window and watch the snow in the glow of the streetlights.

After my grandfather died, we spent our first Christmas in Toronto in nineteen years. I thought I'd been shot.

I think I might take one of my few free days in December and spend a few hours up in "Parry Hoot", so named for being a great drinking town in the 19th century (not for its omnipresent train whistles as I was led to believe when I was a kidlet!), but only if the weather's clear.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Snow!!! :) :) I mean, (*clears throat soberly*) snow.

Real snow is coming down out there, not the stuff we had yesterday that looked like disintegrated styrofoam. And my lurking schadenfreude is kicking in as I hear that there have been dozens of fender-benders on our city streets in the past couple of hours. Every year I pride myself smugly on being one of the few people that seems to remember how to drive in this glop.

This is Canada. Drive accordingly, please, but only after I've had a small chuckle at your expense. Nyeh.

So long, privacy.

There is a noisy chainsaw crew removing the tree that is closest to our balcony and offers us some semblance of privacy in the summer. I'm grumpy about losing the tree, and grumpy about chainsaws whining away loudly when I'd really, really like to have a nap. Maybe I'll try earplugs.

Furthermore, I lost all my reeds, as well as my tuner and metronome, some time between a rehearsal and a concert on Wednesday. At least I can borrow some Baroque reed tubes for a few weeks, but man! It's just the worst time of year to be losing reeds, and the expense of labour and money that looms ahead of me as I look to replace the tubes and make enough reeds to get me through the season is making me twitch.

My next gripe: Jack FM. I like the music they play, but they've recently gone the way of No DJs, and they're proud if it! Sure, it means more music and less babble, but it also means that they had to fire a bunch of people. As a musician whose profession is mainly live performance, I'm constantly irked by the replacement of live bodies by automated and pre-recorded programming in the music industry in general. This isn't quite the same or as bad as giving pink slips out to a pit orchestra because the entire musical is now programmed into a synthesizer, but I'm still pretty sensitive about this kind of thing.

So, you'd like some happy news? Er, well...we have a new jade plant in our bathroom and I haven't killed it yet. Oh, and we have root beer! I love root beer.

Well, I see a guy in an orange hard hat dangling from the tree outside the dining room window, so I think I'll go hide now.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Teaching at a cruel hour at my old school

Number of beginner oboe vermin I had to teach at an ungodly hour this morning: 3
Number of students that bothered to practice: 1
Number of stiff drinks I would like right now: You don't want to know.

Last week they all paid up for the term, which pleased me, but now I have nothing to look forward to. I just have to stagger up to the burbs every Monday morning until my obligation is fulfilled.

Notice that the school I used to go to, in the neighbourhood I grew up in, is nothing better than "the burbs" at that hour and when beginner oboists await.

By the end of it all, though, I'm usually cheerful, if they have practised.

This is the last year for the building; it was built in the '20s, hasn't changed at all since I went there in the '80s, and they will tear it down soon and replace it with something that looks like a factory.

At the very least, the new school will likely have practice rooms I can teach in, so I'm not stuck in the library computer lab or the National Dance studio. What it will lack, however, is a great pole in the middle of the girls' changeroom that is perfect for grabbing and swinging around until you are ready to throw up. I used to do that every day when I was a student there, grade 4 to 8. I tried it again last week, and felt like my arm would rip off. Too much weight and momentum now. Sigh. I still felt good and woozy.

I hope I can get in a few more swings around the changeroom pole before the school year ends and the building closes. As it is, I have to be careful to go in there when no one is around so I don't look like a terrible perv.