About karimcnickle

I have a cat, I work for the government, I like bicycles, and I drink my coffee black.

The Beethoven Bash

Last night was my first time at the symphony. And appropriately enough, it was the “Beethoven Bash” program.

Beethoven is probably my favorite composer. It helps that he’s who I’m most familiar with, but I do believe he’s my favorite. And I’m a music glutton; my taste ranges from the so-called cultural highs to the truly questionable. Ke$ha, anyone? Love her.

The only classical composer who has really ever held my interest (other than Gershwin the Great), is Beethoven. “Be-te-toe” as my little sister would pronounce it after the ignominious films debuted, enchanted me. As a teenager I would sit and listen to his piano sonatas for hours. It was a musical  rollercoaster of emotions. I was partial to the sonatas over all else simply because I could relate to them, try to pluck melodies and passages that grabbed me out of specific movements. Using up my Barnes & Noble giftcards I managed to purchase the complete collections of his piano sonatas, in two volumes, now much dog eared and with absolutely shattered bindings. I could probably count on my fingers the number of times I’ve actually managed to play one of his pieces all the way through, but I’d still try. Impatient was the best way to categorize my playing; I wanted all the juice from his most thrilling moments without having to plod through all the pastoral crap, as I thought of it at the time.

So last night, taking up the text message invitation from my mom, I headed to the Stockton Symphony. For all its poor reputation, Stockton has a pretty impressive musical scene. Our symphony is the oldest in California outside of SF and LA. And I was absolutely impressed.

The guest pianist was from Germany, and played the 2nd piece of the evening with a furious gusto and flurries of fingers so fast I could hardly track them. His skill was astonishing, and I found myself marveling when I tried to step into the mindset he must be playing from. To have a piece so elaborate so totally memorized, to be working off sheer muscle memory but at the same time being incredibly present and mentally engaged, is amazing to me.

After a time, I had to close my eyes and just listen. As much as I enjoyed watching everyone perform, I was almost distracted from the music. When my eyes closed, it was like I was back in my bedroom as a teenager again, playing my cherished cd’s of Vladimir Ashkenazy performing Beethoven’s sonatas. The music is so intense, so emotive, and most of all so immense. I marvel at the people who perform it, and even more so at the man who wrote it.

While the symphony last night ranks high on my list of Beethoven belt notches, another moment is actually my favorite. My grandma Della, sitting down at my mom’s piano, and seeing my old Beethoven books there. Browsing through, until she landed on Pathétique. Tossing aside some phrases about how oh, she used to play this one, and rather liked it, and so on. Then proceeding to absolutely RIP through it in the most phenomenal way. And boy she nailed it.

So, thank you, Beethoven, for having written music that over 200 years later still inspires me and the people around me. Music that still makes memories for me, astounds me, and takes me to a place I can’t get to very often.

(And please forgive me for the Ke$ha thing.)

The vacuum.

Tonight was moving time for the fella, which meant I got to indulge my compulsive love of vacuuming. Yeah, I’m blogging about vacuuming, but it’s been a hefty long week. 

 
In any case, I love to vacuum. This would probably surprise about anyone who knew me, considering the majority of my possessions are usually in perpetual disarray. Additionally, my house has wood floors and a few lone area rugs, not providing me with many prime opportunities. 
 
But this room tonight… There was carpet! Dog hair! Crumbs and scraps! It was perfect. 
 
There is something so infinitely satisfying about hearing that crackling noise when something hearty gets sucked up, and seeing the orderly lines appear on the carpet, and watching the muck disappear.
 
I know I can’t be alone in this fascination, but I may be  one of the few who actually just dedicated a post to the vacuum. Don’t hold it against me please. 
 
And for the record, mine’s a Simplicity. And awesome. 

What happens when you get lazy and try to let your cat write your blog posts

From the brilliance of my cat’s paws, I bring you this:

xd9

Yep. In all his prancing across the keyboard, that’s all the literary genius I got out of him, other than trying to force quit every application and attempting to shut down the entire system. I’m thinking I should probably let him stick to music.

Image

In less lazy ventures, tonight was inadvertent date night, as everyone who was considering going to the movies with us bailed or had other plans. Or just couldn’t make my old lady request for the earliest possible showtime. We saw Skyfall, the newest James Bond movie, and it was quite near “brilliant” as the British would say. The plot was interesting, they did a great use of recognizing the history of the series while acknowledging there must be a future, and it was just fun. I hope they keep making them, but at the same time I wonder if this isn’t a good place to pause the series for a bit. In any case, it looked great on the imax screen. Not bad for a Tuesday night.

Stupid Trucks

Patrick has a stupid truck. It is big, I have to jump to get into it, I nearly sprain my ankle trying to clamber out of it, I once backed it into a pole at a gas station, and it is the highest of high maintenance.

But I do look pretty bad a$$ ridiculous when I drive it. Really though, the perfect combination of feeling like I’m super cool and turning heads, and looking absolutely absurd with my curly bobbed hair, bumping his system.

Stupid Truck is currently taking up space in my driveway and space in my life, since it couldn’t go up a hill and got all busted. I thought a prerequisite for trucks was the ability to go up hills, but apparently not this truck or that hill. Stupid Truck is sitting on lift things, no front wheels, trying to get fixed. A 2 hour ordeal that has turned into a 3 day ordeal.

Stupid Truck is going to find a new home very, very soon. And I won’t miss the headaches it has caused. But we’ve had our good times. Mostly involving the heated seats and my perpetually cold backside. And a few speaker busting singalong sessions involving us and some truly horrendous pop music. I never thought I’d be the girl that actually liked sitting above everyone else in the kind of truck that makes you preconceive every notion you could about the driver’s personal traits, but I’ve rather learned to love it. So soon, Stupid Truck, I’ll bid you a farewell, and it may even be a little fond.

Veteran’s Day- a Thank You

 

I’ve been privileged to spend this weekend in the company of friends and loved ones. And while spoiling myself, I’ve tried to keep in mind that these luxuries are because people I know and love have fought for them. 
 
With my grandparents being Veterans, and numerous other relatives besides, I was always aware of the holiday and made sure to phone every year and say thank you, even before I fully grasped what it meant. 
 
It gained a new level of reality for me when I realized that friends of mine, some at the time barely old enough to drink a beer, were decorated war veterans. One friend, Brian, is now overseas again, this time as a Chinook pilot. 
 
So simply put, thank you all for your service. And thank you to those families, who serve in their own way too.

Made it to the weekend!

After a pretty brutal day for the both of us, we made it to Guerneville. Happily tucked into our little b&b, fireplace roaring, Nat Geo and Real Simple magazines in hand. 

So far it looks beautiful outside, except it’s dark of course. And cold! 39 outside when we pulled the car up just now makes the fireplace even better. 

Wine adventures tomorrow!