Madame Butterfly from Coast to Coast

Tonight is opening night for Seattle Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly.  My daughter, Rachelle, is once again a member of the cast.  She appears third from the left in both photos below.

MadameButterflySeattleOperaAug2017RachelleMoss3rdFromLeft
[ Philip Newton photo ]
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[ Philip Newton photo ]
Earlier this year, Rachelle was also a member of the cast of Sarasota Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly. So she really has done this show from coast to coast.

Rachelle as Kate Pinkerton
Rachelle as Kate Pinkerton

Now I’m wishing I was in Seattle so I could attend opening night.

Break a leg!

Tenacious Dedication

I feel nostalgically melancholy today.  I am remembering a time, about a decade ago, when I seethed with frustration surrounding a disappointing rejection my daughter suffered through.  When I requested an explanation for the rejection, the response I received  accused my daughter of “not being dedicated enough.”  In my mind, “not dedicated enough” became “not rich enough” because the evidence supporting that theory appeared overwhelming.  Other more affluent students with less talent and training achieved admittance, while my daughter was passed over.

Across the intervening years, I’ve watched and listened to my daughter devote countless hours in vocal training and coaching, music studies, daily practicing, auditions, rehearsals and performances.  Her perseverance, tenacity and, yes, dedication, knows no bounds. Her vocal coach is amazed out how extraordinarily large my daughter’s voice is, the largest she has heard.  I weep with pride, joy and love when I get a chance to hear her perform.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vism9va0CBk]

She recently performed the Contralto solo in several performances of Handel’s Messiah.  My only regret is I couldn’t afford to fly to Seattle to listen to it live.

Next week, my daughter flies to New York for her last audition of the year.  To date, she’s flown over 20,000 miles this year for auditions, all across the Continental United States:  from San Francisco, to Chicago, to Houston, to Chicago again, to New York, etc. etc.

Where are these other ‘more dedicated’ students now? Personally, I could care less.

Break a leg next week Rachelle!

WorldCon Withdrawals

Despite what my husband thinks, I have not over-dosed on science fiction since last Wednesday when the 74th World Science Fiction Convention (commonly referred to as WorldCon) arrived for the second time in Kansas City, Missouri.  MidAmeriCon II ended yesterday and of course the highlight of those five days was the Hugo Awards Ceremony held Saturday evening.

20160817_073751In fact, I sincerely hoped when I woke up this morning it wouldn’t be to the harsh reality of a Monday morning workday.  Ah, but life is cruel and the alternate dimension I’d enjoyed for five days evaporated into the dreary doldrums of gainful employment.  Well, not completely dreary.  Perhaps dreaded would be more like it, since I knew I’d be walking into some ‘hot potatoes’ once I strapped myself to my desk.

Continue reading “WorldCon Withdrawals”

Hugos in the Heart of America

I am attending WorldCon this week since it’s basically in my backyard. I’ll be tweeting highlights and photos throughout the con. I’ve also signed up as a volunteer so I’ll be behind the curtain so to speak most mornings. Follow me on Twitter @mossjon to see my updates and outtakes.

The 2016 Hugo Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 8 PM Central Daylight Time in the Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom in Kansas City, Missouri. The Hugo Awards web site will once again offer text-based coverage of the Hugo Awards ceremony via CoverItLive, suitable for people with bandwidth restrictions. For…

via 2016 Hugo Ceremony Coverage Plans — The Hugo Awards

Grande Finale to a Grand Weekend

I’m amazed at how much I accomplished this past weekend, especially considering my husband had major surgery less than three weeks ago.

Friday Evening

TalkingTolkienTwoTowersFriday night was our first venture out on a ‘date’ since the surgery.  I signed up for a free lecture and screening at the National World War I Museum and Memorial entitled “Talking Tolkien: The Two Towers.”  We arrived about fifteen minutes early to enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  We retired to the auditorium and waited a few minutes.  At ten minutes or so after the hour, the lecturer strolled up to the podium and gave a meandering introduction of upcoming events in a clear effort to stall.  He wanted to give the people in the lobby time to finish eating.

His lecture on Tolkien’s experiences during the Battle of the Somme was quite brief and rushed, not at all what I had been hoping for.  He further devolved into a montage of photographs from the Museum’s collection delivered in the manner of a television show’s “Previously on …” wrap of the Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring.  You could clearly see where Tolkien (and probably Peter Jackson) got his inspiration for scenes from Middle Earth and the conflict immortalized in the Lord of the Rings.   After the lecture, the screening of The Two Towers began, for which Terry and I stayed only about thirty minutes before deciding the movie viewing experience was better at home.

Once back home, I decided to break out the Celestron C8 I had recently borrowed from my astronomy club.  Despite dire predictions, the sky remained perfectly clear so I looked forward to an evening of planetary observing, since all five visible planets are ripe for the plucking at this time of year.  I got everything attached to the tripod and manhandled it outside to my lower patio, giving it a quick leveling and orientation north so I could get through a polar alignment swiftly.  Then I just had to wait for darkness to fall enough for me to see Polaris with my naked eye.  Continue reading “Grande Finale to a Grand Weekend”

Good Morning Sunflower

I noticed yesterday afternoon as Terry and I were leaving to meet friends for dinner that one of my sunflower plants had bloomed.  We made it home just before sunset when I was able to snap a photo of the bloom (before the birds destroy it getting to the seeds).

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May your Monday be full of summer sunshine and happiness!

Wildflower Garden Update

20160609_055708Last fall, we had some landscaping done on the east and north sides of the house. The south side just had some fill dirt graded against the foundation and a cherry try planted between the apple tree and the fence. We also removed the bothersome mulberry terry from the corner of the fenced backyard.

I attempted to grow sunflowers last summer with limited success.  This year, I decided I wanted a wildflower garden to give bees and hopefully hummingbirds something to enjoy.  I bought a bag of wildflower seed, raked the fill dirt to loosen it and even it out and liberally sprinkled the seed along the entire south wall of the house.  A few weeks later, I’m starting to see blooms, thanks in no small part to nearly ten inches of rain we received in May.

Continue reading “Wildflower Garden Update”

Portable Puzzling

I remember spending time with my grandmother putting together large landscape jigsaw puzzles as a child.  I have always had exceptional pattern recognition abilities, probably a direct result of my photographic memory.  Whether it’s puzzle pieces or star hopping using binoculars and a telescope, I can look at the missing space once and sort through hundreds (or thousands) of pieces and match it in my memory before confirming it by snapping it into place.

But with the advent of my own children, and then followed by large dogs who think puzzle pieces are dog treats, I just haven’t thought it was worth it to do jigsaw puzzles at home for quite a long time.

Spurred on by the “Exercise Your Mind” Bingo card challenge, I went searching for a 21st century alternative to thwart my Rottweilers.  I found an app for my tablet that allows me to complete a puzzle and never worry about dropping a piece to be snatched up by the mobile black hole on four feet padding around my kitchen.

Here’s the Flickr album I created today to track my progress while completing my first virtual jigsaw puzzle of “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh:

Jigsaw Puzzles

This satisfies my love for great works of art, astronomy and puzzles. My mind is doing mental cartwheels right now.

My First Zentangle

I learned about Zentangles yesterday, which is a more focused form of doodling (in a nutshell).  Also, you’re supposed to do them in pen because you are not allowed to erase any ‘mistakes.’

Here’s my first attempt at a Zentangle:

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I may color parts of this one with colored pencils tonight.

I updated my “Exercise Your Mind” Bingo card to reflect my progress.

Next up:  Jigsaw Puzzles.