Montag, Oktober 25, 2010

Standing up in the boat

In Venice--in Venezia--everyone stands up in the boat. Gondoliers, motor boat drivers, little old ladies using the gondola ferry to cross the Grand Canal. If you're sitting down, you must be a tourist.

Gondolas

It is strange to be in a place where there are no cars. The night is silent.

View from Ponte dei Pietá

In Venice you take a boat to the airport, to the train station, to the hospital--the ambulanza is a boat, too, of course.

Distances in Venice are measured in bridges--"cross three bridges, then take the first street on your left." The streets can be measured in bricks--4 1/2 bricks wide at this end, 7 1/2 bricks wide at that end. Look sharp or you will miss your street entirely. In Venice, the cracks between the houses are the streets.

Sometimes the distinction between the canals and the streets blurs. Given some rain and a high tide, the canals ignore the distinction. *Acqua alta*, they call it in Venice. It's synonymous for winter.

Inside Vecchio Murano in high water

Like the water, the names of Venice roll and flow and pour. The sestieri: Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce. The islands: Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido, Mazzorbo, San Michele, San Giorgio Maggiore. The churches: Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Basilica Cattedrale Patriachale di San Marco, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Heavy with the weight of great age, solemn in its stillness, dolphin-shaped Venezia floats in and under its lagoon. What race of sea-people dreamed this city of boats and music and glass? Did they, too, stand up in boats?

Freitag, Februar 19, 2010

I survive group lessons

Don't ask me why this stresses me out, but for some reason having 17 kids show up at my house in groups of 5 or 6 over the space of three days fries my brain.

We celebrated Mardi Gras after the fact. At each group, kids improvised along with Thelonius Monk and had a chance to play pieces they're learning. At the Wednesday group, one of the older kids who is a great pop improviser demonstrated how he comes up with a new piece. Then they ate king cake (I made four of them--we ate ours on Mardi Gras day) and I threw Mardi Gras beads and doubloons at them. I think I ordered them from PartyCheap.com this year.

Everything went fine, and my daughters helped with the groups their kids are in (cousins can get a little silly when together in a group with other kids). So why is my brain fried?

I hope there is enough of it left to go practice the organ for a while.

Freitag, Februar 05, 2010

I keep my head above water . . . barely

Just to let you know what's going on:

I am practicing the organ 4 hours most days and working on transposition, modulation, and harmonization in my spare time.

I am hardly knitting at all.

My mother is going into a nursing home on Monday.

I will let you know when things get better.

Freitag, Jänner 15, 2010

I think about pitching out my ball winder

After struggling for over an hour with my jumbo ball winder, I watched this video and am considering giving up ball winders entirely.

No tickers