I had intended to begin posting again rather earlier

But so anyway I'm in Italy with AEDO, which stands for Accademia Europea Dell'Opera. This year the program is staging three full operas, two of which have already had their performances. We're in the final week, and it's just us Suor Angelica girls left.

I got here a week into July, and immediately hated everything. Temperatures above 30C, humidity above 75%, and jet lag made everything appear lacklustre. I knew what was happening, though - didn't make it better, not at that point, but it helped me to remember that I would get used to things and it would get easier when my sleep evened out.

Anyway, here I was in Lucca, within the walls of a medieval city built on top of a Roman settlement. You can see the stones of the original Roman walls in places, especially at the gates and the amphitheatre. (Not currently an actual amphitheatre - there's a round piazza there now.) (Just outside that piazza is a restaurant that is one year older than Italy. I still haven't been.) The streets are all flagstone or cobblestone, narrow and hemmed by tall buildings everywhere in the city. The sun is hot, but it's almost always possible to find shade.

I live on Via Buia, which means Dark Street, so called because it's so very narrow and tall that it almost never gets any sun. There's maybe half an hour at beginning and end of day where the sun reaches the ground this time of year. The apartment where I live is on the fifth floor and there is no elevator. Consequently, my glutes, and in fact my entire posterior chain, have had to - I'm just gonna say it - step up.

I like where I'm living, even though we're directly above an ambulance bay. Other things we're above: a square with an aquaduct fountain where I get most of my drinking water, the best produce store in town, and a halfway decent gelato place. Walking distance to our rehearsal space is 10-15 minutes, depending how congested the foot traffic is - there are no sidewalks; motor vehicles are somewhat rare and use the same passages as pedestrians and cyclists.

Oh, listen: it's sax-o-clock. There's a busker who sets up shop around 1pm and 8pm every. single. day. and plays the exact same ten-minute set every time. I sometimes hear him faintly at other times; I imagine he makes the rounds of all the piazzas in the city. His intonation is marred by his enthusiasm, but he's got style, I'll give him that.

Almost all the doors and shutters here are dark green. I imagine that has something to do with sumptuary laws or something like that.

There are 99 churches in Lucca proper and probably close to as many gelato places. (Maybe not quite. But there are a Lot.) My favourite is the hipster place on Via Santa Croce (one of the two main cross-streets) that sells salted pistachio gelato. I wish I could bring some back with me. It's really unbelievable.

I will make a separate post about the musical happenings thus far, since this post is quite long enough to go on with. I just want to add that the lady at the gelato place said last week that my Italian was getting better, and that the barista at the Drogheria just near our rehearsal space now greets me with "Ciao, cara! Dimmi."

Also, I have a tan.
frieza - help

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Dear Livejournal,


someone who turned off infinite scroll on her tumblr dash too and what are you even doing I can't even see posts once they get too old so what's the point I ASK YOU
  • Current Music
    Take Me To Church - Hozier
shoe love

christos anesti / alithos anesti

From Palm Sunday through Holy Week we read three different accounts of the Passion of Christ, finishing with the account according to John on Good Friday. This is done script-fashion, with a narrator, the priest as the voice of Jesus, and two other parts, designated V for "Voice" (when it is a single speaker who is not Jesus) and C for "Crowd". The congregation at my church is invited to participate in reading both the V and C parts. This results in several back-to-back responses such as "You are not also one of his disciples, are you?" "I am not." and "Behold your king." "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!"

I think that this was initially instituted because we have fewer readers than we used to and also it's a bit awkward getting everyone to fit in the sanctuary, but it makes for a powerful reading experience. If you're paying attention, it forces you to identify with everyone, with Pilate and with the chief priests and scribes of Israel, with Judas and with the court gatekeeper, with the screaming crowd and with the disciple who could not stand by his teacher and with the centurion who declared that, truly, this man was the son of God.

When it came time to shout, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" I couldn't do it. This year, I couldn't do it. Sometimes I can. I couldn't this time. I couldn't speak for an entire page, because I was crying.
  • Current Music
    Blute nur, du liebes Herz - J. S. Bach (Saint Matthew Passion)
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shoe love

baby i'll never leave if you keep holding me this way

Yesterday I knit a right wrist warmer.

Today I knit another right wrist warmer.


eeyeah. I'm just gonna buy some more yarn and make two lefts now, rather than unpick the last couple inches of the second right AGAIN (initially forgot to knit in scrap yarn to hold stitches open to pick up later and make a thumb, because I discovered I had dropped my third stitch in under an hour several rows back, because knitting between musical theatre performances at the music festival for the second consecutive day will do that to your concentration, I guess).

Honestly, at this point it really is just easier to make two new ones than to fuss about with the finished (wrong) one. This yarn has a pretty low wool content, but it's effectively one step above roving and it's practically starting to felt already. It's not possible to handle it much more.

In other news, apparently the dude who last night was asking why I had to leave ended up going on about how cool I am, and how he's super jealous of the one other girl who was there because she gets to join our D&D campaign. (Before you get the wrong idea, he has a girlfriend.) This is very good for my ego. *preens*
  • Current Music
    Stockholm Syndrome - One Direction
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are we in the clear yet, in the clear yet, good

DM lost his job. :( Had some friends over for commiseration funtimes tonight. Mostly dudes, one other girl. She's joining our campaign, which should be interesting.

I forget sometimes the particular ways in which I thrive in majority-dude spaces. I have generally found them to be louder, more verbally combative without anyone actually taking offense, and more competitive than most majority-female spaces I have inhabited. Being that I tend toward argumentative and aggressively competitive myself, it's freeing, in a way. I had a lot of fun.

I will admit that I wore makeup and my nerd-armour (Deadpool shirt, Zelda hat) because I'm not immune from wanting to make a good impression on strangers, but it's not like I was presenting a false face. I like to wear makeup, I like Deadpool a lot even if I don't know the character as well as I want to (and soon will, if I ever get around to borrowing Sam's comics), and Zelda and I have been on excellent terms since A Link to the Past. (Not actually playing the games doesn't disqualify me from being a fan of them, does it? :P) I forgive myself for my insecurity.

I made my goodbyes around 10 and one guy was like, " you work in the morning, or...?" Prolonged inquiry and explanation followed, the upshot of which was basically "we think you're cool, don't go" and "thanks, but I gotta." I had a lot of fun. Wouldn't mind hanging out with them again.
  • Current Music
    Out of the Woods - Taylor Swift
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this is a post about knitting and other things

Straight up, though, I probably wouldn't be updating this frequently if I hadn't given up Tumblr for Lent.

At any rate, wow, yes, I did actually get experience points for my planetary model, and now I'm like, "to learn calculus, or not to learn calculus?" because I want to figure out how EXACTLY the days and seasons are working.

...I swear, if this is the motivation that finally gets me...

I should be sleeping but I got really caught up in knitting. I've picked it back up lately in a big way and I'm making wrist warmers for the DM (...shut up, it's not a bribe, I already made a pair for his girlfriend, it's a thing). Basically in the last few months I have learned how to double knit, how to knit lace, how to cable, and I've refreshed my colour work and stranding skills. This new pattern incorporates a basic aran cable, which is new to me, but which I'm finding gorgeously intuitive and incredibly satisfying. The process itself is less interesting now that I've learned the pattern, but it's just so wonderful to turn it inside out every once in a while and look at the progress and how neat it looks. I'm using a six-ply yarn and it's somewhat fatter than your standard worsted, in a nice heathered hunter green, so it's a little bit chunky and so pretty.

I will probably knit them up again for my next wrist warmers (intended for an undisclosed party), and in the meantime I'm also working on a shrug in a very easy lace pattern in a fluffy light blue yarn that is pretty, but murder to work with. I'm trying to pick projects that level up my skills, which so far seems to be working.

So confident am I, indeed, in my capacity to continue on this competence-increasing trajectory that I've decided the next thing to do is knit a sweater. There's a lovely pattern that isanah knit up a few years ago and I've never forgotten - I think she did it in a deep emerald colourway and it was completely gorgeous. Anyway, the pattern promises customisability and comes with a wide range of sizing options, which works for me. So while I was at Michael's buying styrofoam spheres the other day, I picked up a couple of giant balls of cheap acrylic yarn (for learning on, you know?) in a surprisingly lovely rich shade of red, and I have now purchased the Snow White pattern. I still have a few other projects to get through before I start the sweater (not to mention a circular needle to buy), but I checked the gauge already and the suggested needle size is perfect with my yarn. Simplifies things.

And on a completely different note, I'm booked to sub for a music teacher at my old elementary school on Thursday. I've been in for her a few times and it's always fun, though I generally come away with a sore throat. :P
  • Current Music
    Act 3 Overture (aka Flight of the Valkyries), Die Walküre - Richard Wagner
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frieza - help

everybody here wanted something more

So I spent fifteen dollars and an hour figuring out how my D&D campaign's solar system works. The DM wasn't especially concerned about little things like science when he decided that our planet doesn't spin but swivels, and that our side of the planet gets no sun, but life is supported by the radiant light of its moons, which by their unusually long orbits govern not the day/night cycle but the seasons.

... >_<

Anyway, I went to Michael's, bought some foam spheres, and figured out how to fit most of what the DM said into physically plausible planetary mechanics. We have two moons orbiting in opposing directions in paths offset from one another by something like 45 degrees. We're handwaving the radiance issue with magic, which, considering the cataclysmic history of the empire that used to engulf our whole continent, is reasonable and ties in with why the planet now swivels instead of spinning. I needed to know, though, how the movement of the moons will appear from our part of the world so I can figure out how we orient ourselves when pathfinding in the wild (for what should be obvious reasons, magnetic navigation is unreliable), what the days feel like, how the season changes work exactly, stuff like that.

For starters, the moon will rise and set on the same horizon. Approximately one-twelfth of the planet will be completely in the dark for a matter of days in mid-spring when the moons cross, and a different twelfth on the other side will experience the same in mid-autumn. For simplicity's sake I decided that neither of those regions is on the same continent we are. I have yet to chart out how each moon's arc will impact the weather patterns throughout each season, but it won't be as simple as our general rule of "days get longer, things mostly get hotter" until midsummer and "days get shorter, things mostly get colder" from then until midwinter.

Believe it or not, though, the DM is very good. He's excellent with story, just a little fuzzy on details of time and distance. We can live with that.

That being said, I better get so many experience points for this. :P
  • Current Music
    Welcome to New York - Taylor Swift
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shoe love

they are the hunters, we are the foxes / and we run

Hi, where is everyone? I am come back to an echoing hall with but few occupants.

That's okay. Anyway, lots of better things are happening such that I feel less anxious than when I made my itemised list of eleven things that were causing me stress.

Sam and I went to visit Lauren in Calgary this week, Tuesday evening to Thursday evening. We didn't get to see her much, because she has a full-time job now (yay, Lauren!!), but we did manage to a) visit the Sentry Box for Sam to get some dice, and b) go to Ikea to get Sam a bookcase. We also did some other cool things. It was a nice, though short and somewhat packed, visit. Also we listened to 1989 by Taylor Swift almost nonstop in the car. By Thursday we were singing along to every track.

Today, I put together the bookcase while Sam was at work and even anchored it to the wall which I have never done for a bookcase before in my life, and also I went to rehearsal for church choir and it was great.

(Have I mentioned this? There's a need for musicians at some of the 5pm masses at our parish so a few of us old guard four-part-with-organ people have stepped in and we get to sing from the loft and use the brand-new organ that was installed therein last year. It's been great so far. After we prepared the music for this week we started talking about Triduum and Easter, and we still don't know if we're going to be singing on Good Friday or what have you but we are prepared.)

I heard about Leonard Nimoy from Carolyn's Facebook post and was obscurely comforted thereby.

Now I have made a start at writing out a narrative account of our Monday night D&D sessions, which naturally makes me feel much better about the whole endeavour than I did when I hadn't even created a file for it, never mind even staring at a blank page. I don't know how the tone of the introduction will go over with the rest of the group, but the introduction is complete. It's less than a page, but it's something, and I feel pretty good about that.

I should write some reviews this weekend. There's a solo cello album that I've downloaded but not yet listened to. I'm excited for that.

These last few days have been full of crying, on and off. A song. A movie. An emotional confrontation. Another song. The Big Bang Theory. Leonard Nimoy. My tears are falling easily these days. Nothing to be surprised at; there has been stress, there has been sleep deprivation, there has been driving in downtown Calgary, there have been hormones, there has been death, there has been life. All I can do is eat and sleep and pray. This will even out again.
  • Current Music
    I Know Places - Taylor Swift
frieza - help

do you like my hat? / no. i do not like your hat. / goodbye! / goodbye.

I met the sweetest dog today. I came home from grocery shopping and she was just wandering along the houses from yard to yard. I think she saw me looking at her from inside the car and she came over and waited outside the driver door, far enough back that I wouldn't hit her with it when I got out. Smart girl.

She's medium-sized, one pale eye and one brown, which along with her colouring makes me think she's either some kind of husky mix or pretty old. Both, maybe? I don't know; I'm not good at dogs.

She wore a collar and a harness, but no tags, and didn't seem inclined to wander back to a close home, so I called bylaw enforcement and then put her in the back yard until they could send a free officer. I think it was about twenty minutes. I had to clear a few things so it would be safe for her, and she got near the open garage door before I could close it so I just said "no" very firmly and she veered right off. She would sit and stay and come and she offered me a paw to shake once while I was praising her for staying put and not trying to follow me through the gate when I took the garbage out.

This dog was very well trained and mild-mannered; her coat was soft and clean, so she probably hadn't been outside long, and she let me take her by the collar easily. When the officer came, I took him to the backyard and tried to get her to come to me so he could get a leash on her, but he started calling her and approaching her at the same time, so I think she got overwhelmed. Eventually I got him to give me the leash and I went apart from him and got down low and said "come" and she came, easy as that, and let me attach the leash without a fuss.

I miss the dog. I hope this doesn't happen very often. I hope they find her people. Probably she's chipped, a well-cared-for dog like that.

You know, if this had happened even three years ago, I probably would have called bylaw from inside the car. I'm no longer scared of dogs on principle. Since I was bitten in the face as a toddler, I always had a fear of dogs, especially large ones. It was a visceral response, something I found frustrating but impossible to control. I tried, but, not knowing any large dogs, or any dogs well, really, it was difficult. I finally got rid of my close-bark-triggered adrenaline spike in Toronto, when I walked past a yard with large dogs while wearing headphones. I couldn't hear it, so I wasn't scared of the dogs, even though they put their paws up on the fence to say hello over it. Then, after, I wasn't scared by the bark, either. I think it was the culmination of a process.

I always figured I'd never have a pet with fur. I'm starting to see that it might be possible now.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
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