Thursday, March 01, 2007

 
I hadn't meant to be away from posting so long but this week was the "make or break" time for clearing out the rest of the furniture, books, and other items that have to go to get my house "staged" for being sold. Fritz, bless him, came down Tuesday night and stayed through until this morning. Each of us always works much better at cleaning out and reorganizing than either of us alone, and the results are very gratifying. He left for his place this morning with one load of stuff, mostly for the big yard sale, some to be kept for the new place, all of it a huge help to be gone.

We had an electrician over to the house Wednesday night to look at the work I want to have done before anyone sees the house. It isn't much in the scheme of things, but I own some very good antique pendant fixtures and chandeliers that will go with me to the new house. The realtor was anxious that they be replaced with decent-looking but utilitarian substitutes before any prospective buyers saw them--he had horror stories of entire purchase deals falling through because a buyer found out that a Franklin Stove was going with the seller, for example. My bathroom medicine chest is another piece that needs replacement--I designed and built it myself from the front of a 1930s radio, a couple of antique crockery wine bottles fitted out as side lamps, and the pediment from an old secretary desk. Framed in the middle of the pediment is an antique wood-carved and inlaid Chinese mask I bought in Quelin in 1985.

My younger daughter's best friend's husband is a very good electrician and he has given me an excellent price to change out six fixtures and to clear up a couple of small electrical problems that probably wouldn't pass the house inspector's visit. I'll be right up front about the fact that part of our getting along so well was that he's quite handsome, very cute and has a great sense of humor. He'll do the work this Saturday.

I did manage to burst one of my fond hopes with Fritz down here to go through so much stuff with me. I'd figured that one of the big advantages to going through everything in the house was that I'd finally find all those things that had gone missing over the years. No deal. I haven't had any big revelations, any "Aha!" moments of discovery. Maybe thinbgs really DO just disappear into thin air.

I'd made a loaf of bread for Fritz's stay here but suffered one of my rare failures--it was a soy flour bread and I used the recipe provided on the package. Clearly, the amount of yeast they specified was insufficient. Technically, the small loaf that failed almost completely to rise could qualify as a door-stop. My previous experiment with millet flour was delicious and had a great texture but millet has no gluten and I will need to add more in future because the bread was a bit crumbly and needs to be held together better. Live and learn, but even with the occasional failures, making my own bread remains a real pleasure.

I have to leave soon to teach my Thursday set design class but will be adding to this post this evening--stop by again for a nice little seven question meme picked up from Kevin at Actorschmactor that, not surprisingly for him as a singer/actor, has a lot to do with personal taste and ecperiences in music, art, film. etc.


And here it is:
Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies: “Nightwork" is the history of hacks and pranks at MIT. I've given it as Christmas and Birthday gifts and as thank you gifts to friends who've invited us to stay with them on out travels. I'm proud to have been a part of an institution whose students generate such creative and beautifully executed projects, and I love sharing them with those I love.

Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music: Alban Berg's opera "Wozzeck." It was the first major piece of non-melodic classical music I'd heard. I felt assaulted; it wasn't pretty but it was powerfully expressive and unfailingly dramatic. It took me a while, but "Wozzeck" opened me up to the music of my time.

Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue: As a class, Hollywood sword and sandal epics. Ben Hur, Spartacus, The Robe, Samson and Delilah, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Ten Commandments, I love them all. I don't really obsess over any one movie but if I did it might be "Dangerous Liasons" with Glenn Close. Not since old Greta Garbo movies have I seen a face so expressive, able to speak volumes with just a subtle, devastating rise of an eyebrow or drop of the corners of a mouth. Her performance is filled with lessons on how less is more if it's specific and intelligently chosen.

Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief: The great Viennese soprano Leonie Rysanek. She didn't just act her roles or even inhabit them--she devoured and totally assimilated each character she portrayed and possessed the stage with them. With a huge, opalescent voice, physical beauty, and the willingness to take any risk to get her point across, she always sent me out of the theater knowing much more about the composer, the opera and the art of performing than I'd known before.

Name a work of art you'd like to live with: The great bronze Poseidon, God of the Sea who now resides in the National Museum at Athens. A striding, virile, confident, mature man at the height of his powers, he dominates all the other gods and mythic heroes in the place.

Name a work of fiction that has penetrated your real life: I was about to write that I don't really read a lot of novels but then I realized that the play scripts and operas I work with all the time are fiction, too. So, there's Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I" that was my first exposure to live theater at age seven. At ten, my parents took me to George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara." how they thought a ten year old would grasp Shaw's social and political philosophy but I was engrossed, and there was never any question thereafter as to what my career would be. And I've never had a moment's regret.

Name a punch line that always makes you laugh: From Fawlty Towers, Manuel's "I know nothing!" From the old Carol Burnett Show, "If you're sorry, why don't you stop?"

Comments:
What lovely character your house has ... and I love the colour of the shutters. Your antique light fixtures sound beautiful. I wish I lived close enough to attend your yard sale! I have spent many weekend mornings happily persusing yard sales. For some reason I get a peculiar pleasure in coming home with little yard sale treasures that is greater than buying them from a store.
 
When we moved out to Uxbridge several years ago, we were still smoking at the time and by the time we had emptied out the apartment, we found enough cigarette lighters to almost fill as shopping bag.
 
WOW- your house looks so different during the day...and when there isn't a mound of snow out front...and when the leaves are green. It looks practically like the rural farmhouse it once was.

Isn't it amazing that it COSTS money to sell the house (when it should MAKE you money?)

It's worth it in the end...
 
No problem with being away a while....sounds like you're very very busy and happy! We'll always be around and waiting whenever you have time to post. That's what friends are for! Cheers.
 
That statue of Poseidon is one of my favorites too.
From Fawlty Towers, the 'siberian hamster' always makes me smile.
 
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