Wednesday, December 12, 2012


My First 12-on-12 to celebrate 12/12/12

Yes, I understand that 12-on-12 is virtually over except for a very few bloggers who drop one in occasionally.  I've never done one, although I've meant to, but I always found myself on the 15th or 16th remembering I'd missed the 12th.  I thought that if I were ever going to do one, it would have to be today on the most significant 12th of all, the triple twelfth!  So, here goes:

Circa 6 am and dawn begins to lighten the southern sky.  I'm usually awake by 5:30, the pattern for most of my life.  I've never needed more than about five to five and a half hours of sleep at night.  This morning I awoke earlier still, put my light on and read while Fritz slept.  I usually get up around 6:30, feed Starr, head for the kitchen to set up the tea pot and kettle (I set the breakfast table the night before) and do the first check of email while the kettle heats up.  An English kettle, its whistle isn't the high, shrill type, but a deeper tone like an old locomotive whistle.  When it goes off, it's Fritz's signal to get up.

Our shower isn't a stall shower but a small shower room, 5-1/2 x 3-3/4 feet with shower heads at opposite ends.  We designed it so that sauna guests (the sauna holds six) can take the cold "plunge" together, and so that we could both shower comfortably together in the morning.

Breakfast.  Occasionally Fritz will make an omelet or a scramble with diced ham and veggies, but our usual breakfast is granola in soy milk for him and non-fat yogurt with honey and occasionally some almond extract for me.  I often have a banana, and we both have toasted home-baked bread and tea.  This is done while watching Good Morning America.

To live in New Hampshire, at least here in the southern part, is to accept the inevitability of Daddy Long Legs spiders.  They get in everywhere and they survive on a random collection of threads rather than the classic spider web.  Those random threads quickly pick up dust and what an aunt of mine used to call phlug.  I make the circuit of the house every so often, as I did this morning, with a vacuum cleaner and clear as many spiders and what we call "spider crap" as possible.

Our Christmas cards are 90% finished and mailed, but I had to get to the post office to send a carton of big cones from our white pine trees to a niece of Fritz's in suburban D.C.  She and her family were here for Thanksgiving and liked the swags and pendants I had made with pine cones to decorate the outside of the house in winter.  She wanted some but couldn't take them on the plane.

This afternoon, I started work on the next production that Intermezzo Chamber Opera is doing, the second of Benjamin Britten's Church Parables, The Prodigal Son.  We had a huge success several years ago with the first Parable, Curlew River, and had wanted to do Prodigal Son a couple of years ago.  When the big recession hit, grants and contributions fell off so it had to be delayed.  Twice.  This year the Britten Foundation came through with a very generous grant -- we'll perform during the first week of April next spring at the First Church that faces the Common in Cambridge, MA.

I keep up with a number of blogs and have developed some wonderful friendships with fellow bloggers.  Starr knows that when I sit down at the computer I can be held captive for a tummy rub.

Last night we finished the libretto to our second opera by incorporating a few changes and additions the composer, Dan Shore, had asked for.  I'm getting the file cleaned up and ready to read through with Fritz this evening to make sure everything sounds right, is spelled correctly, and that no details are missing.  Writing this one has been exciting and a great pleasure.  We learned a tremendous amount while writing the text for our first, one-act opera; this one is a full-length two-act opera with a more complex structure.  Happily, the entire creative team is very enthusiastic about it.

And yes, thank you, I think I do have pretty good taste in wall papers.  :-)

The exercise ball for my daily afternoon routine from the physical therapist which has given me great relief from the pinched sciatic nerve pain I was having.  The only pieces of equipment I need are the ball, an elasticized latex strap and two five pound dumbbells.  The exercises (including some work on posture correction) are aimed at strengthening the muscles that line the spine to support better, contain a bulging disc, and eventually push it back into place.  I had told my doctor that I didn't want to approach the extremely painful problem with either spinal surgery or lots of painkillers, if at all possible. 

Dinner!  Fritz cooked tonight: Chicken Parmesan, butternut squash, snow peas sauteed with chopped onion and, for dessert, his freshly baked New England apple cake.  Which is to die for.  Wine was involved.

After we finished reading through the libretto, correcting a few typos and doing a little bit of polishing, I sent it off to the composer and the head of the opera company.  Then we adjourned to Modern Family, one of our two favorite comedies, the other being Big Bang Theory.

Bed time.  I read in bed for an hour at the end of the day.  There's usually a small pile of books and maybe a magazine or two on the night table.  I'm actually reading another book right now, a collection of gay-themed short stories by Bob Vickery that are really nicely written but the cover's just a bit . . . let's say that I'm not ready to have the adult warning slapped on on the blog right now.

Nice! I did my first 12 on 12 today too. It should publish in about an hour.

Did you find doing it altered your day?
Starr's a cutie.
Vladimir Jurowski had a rather more apocalyptic take on 12/12/12 introducing last night's concert (which included a fascinating Grisey piece embracing the cataclysm in the book of Gilgamesh). Inevitably he said that if you reverse the first two numbers, you also get the day on which a new world is to begin (21/12). I think he may have been slightly tongue in cheek, but he said that apocalypses might be embraced joyfully...Anyway, I'm not preparing for any such thing.
Coincidence, David: I listened very recently to Martinu's The Epic of Gilgamesh. Although Boston had a couple of world premieres from Martinu, the country as a whole doesn't perform him much. I think you get more of him, the operas in particular, in the UK.
I enjoyed this "day in the life," 12 on 12 or not. Starr is a sweetheart. I'm looking for healthy (and substantial) breakfast options given that we can't easily (at all) find cottage cheese here. I've got yogurt and fruit. May have to also try that granola and soy milk option. Thanks to Fritz!
It is always good seeing Fritz.
I want to experience you shower some day.
This 'tour' of your day has been every bit enjoyable. When Stephen and I are watching 'Big Bang Theory', he's always casting glances my way, implying that Sheldon is doing something very Dave-esque. This also happens watching 'Modern Family' when Cam starts to unhinge about something. Preposterous on both counts.

As to the above comment by Ur-spo, I'm going to guess that he may have meant 'I want to experience youR shower some day', though experiencing 'you' shower I'm sure would not be without it's delight...
Oh, thank you, Dave! :-)

The thing I find, if not preposterous at least far-fetched, is that Steve shoots you glances hinting that you share characteristics of Sheldon AND Cam -- two characters with less in common I cannot imagine. Sheldon is all control and in his head, Cam is all emotion and from his heart. Well, at the very least, this indicates that you are a complex and interesting man! :-)

I loved reading your 12/12/12, Will. I'm too much a procrastinator to be ready with camera in hand for such an endeavour.

When I remodlled my bathroom a few years ago, I took out the bathtub and put in a shower instead. It's 5' x 3' so a little smaller than yours but it always draws compliments.

I wish I could read for an hour in bec at night. I'm lucky if I can last 5 minutes before I doze off. I really must set aside some dedicated reading time.
Dear Will,
I enjoyed reading your 12 on 12. I might have to have a go at doing this too.

I was interested to read the details of your opera. I looked up Ann HUtchinson on the internet - what an interesting and somewhat sad life. And what a terrible end.

If I may - I think you have a typo! You have her husband down as aged 25 but I think he was 52.

Bye for now


I see that you too send your spiders to (as AGA calls it) hoover heaven.
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