Well, That Was Interesting . . .

Trying to sing Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” with a singer’s-mask on is a challenge. Beethoven was actually easier (the “Halleluia” from the Mount of Olives) because it is fast and has lots of places to breathe. Legato + mask = real difficulties. I managed to survive, and did a little better on “Balm in Giliad.” I even got to try the solo in “Balm.” I never get a solo, even in rehearsal, so that was fun.

The mask is designed to stay out from the face, and resembles the bill of a duck-billed platypus. It has a tight fit, and is two layers of heavy muslin. I’d love to know what my O2 saturation was after two hours of wearing it, and trying to sing. I managed it, but I was exhausted, more than the music should have caused. I’d love to try singing outdoors, without the mask, but that’s not an option at the place where we meet.

So of course I went looking for recordings, found one by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and once again had severe voice envy. She was soooooo good in her prime, and did Mozart so well! I want to be a soprano like her when I grow up.


Feral Helianthus

The wild sunflowers are creeping farther and farther from their point of origin. They started in a bar-ditch on the county black top. They’ve now crossed the road, easing into the edge of the playa plants. A few more grace the low spot at the bend in the road, and one determined plant is standing proudly in a low spot near access to the wheat field near the school.

No Fair!

Literally, there is no fair in Texas this year. Not the Tri-State Fair, not the State Fair, nada. They are having the livestock shows up here, for the 4-H and other kids, but that’s it. No rodeo, no midway, no concerts, no deep-fried-thing-on-a-stick. No inspecting home-canned goods, or Produce of Unusual Size, or quilts. No chocolate-covered-strawberries-on-a-stick (oh, those were gooooood.)

I am having uncharitable thoughts. No German-style nuts. No bacon-wrapped-whatever with funnel-cake as a chaser. No hitting the Tupperware™ clearance booth. No watching kids getting run over by their show pigs, no team roping or tractor pulls. Grrrrrr. Continue reading

Signs of the Times

Some of the trees have started turning yellow. That’s a hint, along with the brilliant orange hawthorn berries. The robins are hanging around, watching the hawthorn tree. Then they’ll strip it clean – while ignoring equally ripe trees in other yards. I have no idea why.

It’s now in the mid to lower 50s in the mornings, although afternoons can still poke into the 90s. I actually needed a jacket the other morning. We’ve gone over a week without running the air conditioner at RedQuarters.

At least two dozen buzzards were circling as I headed to work on Tuesday. They all headed south. They over-summer here in one of the old, very high-rent districts, much to the chagrin of the home owners. Apparently having a vulture rookery in your yard does not improve property values, or help neighborhood morale.

Sign on a local café: “I had my patience tested the other day. It came back negative.” I know that feeling.

Sign on a local church: “Remember the black-eyed peas we ate for luck at New Years? When are those supposed to kick in?” AMEN!

A Refreshing Change

There are two activities where regulators assume that participants are responsible adults and issue rules accordingly: aviation, and Texas firearms laws. In both cases, the laws are comparatively clear, in plain English more often than not, and the regulating agencies treat people like grown-ups. How nice! The federal regulations are actually clearer, because they are older, and came from a time when the legal philosophy was, “What is the minimum needed for safety, because we don’t know enough to make lots of specific rules?” Both sets of laws were also “written in blood.”

Continue reading

No Sun, Just Lighter Sky

The Texas Panhandle and surrounding areas have not had sunrises recently. The sky gets sort of pink, and then cream, and that’s it. There’s too much of California and Oregon between us and the sky to be able to see sun, clouds, or much of the stars. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Two years ago, we actually got so many fine particulates from Colorado, plus California, that we had air-quality alerts for people with breathing problems. Continue reading

The Relief of Vienna, 1683

I was listening to Sabaton’s “The Winged Hussars.” Someone set it to clips from a Polish/Italian film about the Second Siege of Vienna and did a pretty good job. It got me to thinking about history, and time travel, and that one of the few things I’d like to go back in time and see is that morning, just after sunrise, when the counterattack began and the Imperial forces – including Poland’s Winged Hussars – surged down the face of the Vienna Woods to slam into the Ottoman Army. Continue reading