Bluebell and Ice Cream

Bluebell and Ice Cream (also properly titled, but not necessarily known as “Bluebell and Pizza) for year number eight was a success. My man went with me, and we rushed over after the cool opera showcase – it was very cool, by the way – that ended at 9pm. We arrived around 9:30, but the party was still in swing, so we had some somewhat melty but cold Bluebell ice cream sandwiches and ice cream, talked with people, and let the dog a bunch. As we were leaving, we ended up with the host, checking out all the furniture she had made in her recent woodworking endeavors, and also playing on and checking the tuning of the piano she recently inherited (though doesn’t yet know how to play). My man, of course, spent the piano time roughhousing with the dog, having a grand ole time that contrasted to the previous ‘people time’ of the party itself. I could totally relate.

Anyway, it was a great evening, and I enjoyed that I enjoyed being social like that.

Thank you, God, for such a blessing as ease in such a setting, and especially for the joy of it all and the extra blessing of balance as we got the two-on-two time with the host and her dog afterward. Thank you. Amen.

P.S. I ran into a buddy from high school at the opera thing – had given him some extra tickets we’d had – and another buddy from high school and college who is an awesome musician, though on the spectrum, so is often a tad over the top or odd in social settings. However, the irony was that the former was a touch awkward and the latter was quite comfortable and fun tonight! It was silly, yet good. I was glad to see and be with them both. And it was especially lovely to have the extra-long hug the musician gave me – he always hugs me when he sees me, though he doesn’t seem to touch most people. He still talked to me while facing a slightly other direction, as though looking for someone ‘somewhere over there’, and he talked in the same upper class British cadence without the accent, as he always does, but it was surprisingly comforting to be in such an unchanged and familiar situation that brought up so many positive memories and feelings. And he told me how I can now watch the opera that he wrote and had performed! Looking forward to watching it on a television soon!

Post-a-day 2022

Opéra

Tonight, we attended Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet at the opera. Yes, it was lovely. Yes, it was a touch different from Shakespeare’s pay. But, golly, if that story made for opera! Talk about drama, irrationality, and dying for love… that story has it all, and then some (plenty!).

Post-a-day 2022

Puccini

Turandot is a spectacular spectacle – Puccini certainly got it right and did it well with this one, y’all. I almost cried twice, and then did cry near the end, all because of the music – it was so amazing. Robert Wilson’s visionary directing was spectacular in and of itself, yes. It was so fun and cool and amazing. But the music itself held its own… it was satisfying and utterly fulfilling… and, boy darn, was it good… Just wow…

Thank you, Houston Grand Opera, for this spectacular performance. And thank you, God, for allowing me to witness it… in gratitude, I pray. Amen!

P.S. One of the main characters suddenly had to step out (I believe it was today), and so another member of the cast played her physical role, while Juliet from the current production of Romeo and Juliet stood on the side of the stage with a music stand and in a black dress and sang the part. “Like no other,” the creative director said in his pre-show announcement, and it truly was. It was amazing on all accounts. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Amen!

Post-a-day 2022

Opera

Tonight, we saw a very unique production of The Magic Flute. It was awesome, but also rather bizarre. Rather than being a typical opera production, this one was done with inspiration from 1920s silent films. So, a massive white screen was the stage backdrop, and a projector created every scene, props and all, and a good chunk of characters, too. Pieces of the white screen would flip around like trap doors, revealing a person halfway up it or at the bottom or near the top, depending on the situation, and the projector would make their appearances and locations all make sense. They interacted with parts moving around in the projections all throughout, and it was really well done. Also, instead of spoken dialogue, they projected large words onto the screen itself, like in silent films, and had Mozart harpsichord pieces playing as the music, really making it feel like a silent film. And the actors as did a wonderful job of being believable in their roles in the film – it was stellar. And the Queen of the Night was the best singing performance I have ever attended for that role. Just wow

Go check it out this week at Houston Grand Opera, if you’re in Houston!

Post-a-day 2022

Opera and drama

Opera always has great costuming. The show we saw tonight, however, was a rather bland costuming story, so far as opera goes. However, the program cover reminded me of a Halloween filter I had come across on a Japanese photo app…

And so, we, naturally, had to take a photo together to be in theme for the night…

Gotta love being ridiculous, and opera is certainly ridiculous. Absolutely wonderful, yes, but also ridiculous.

Post-a-day 2022

(Still had to think about it…)

Opera

I have done a decent job lately of pursuing my goal of having opera music playing in the evenings at home. I started it with packing the other week, as I found that the constancy of the music helped me feel supported and keep me calm and focused as I went through all the packing and emotional releasing involved with moving. Only one day, for a couple hours or so, did I have one single separate song on loop, a song an acquaintance wrote and played and recorded. It was about goodbyes and ending a long-time relationship, and it felt quite appropriate… until it was not anymore. Then, I moved on to opera and church chant music and the likes.

Anyway, now that I have a temporary home, as i have been doing various tasks yesterday and today, I went ahead and set up the computer and external hard drive, and turned on the music. I have a playlist of it all that is roughly four and a half days long. Currently, I am just playing everything in order, and starting each time wherever I left off the previous time (using play counts as the guide). I have very much enjoyed it. And I have gotten much done today and yesterday. (Thank you, God and Universe, for the support with all of that!) Speaking of which, I’ll go mark them off on my checklist. I somehow only two days ago committed to having my daily task list as its own Note in my phone, using the checkmark feature. It has gone really well so far, and I intend to continue with it. It is extremely helpful for me to have things written down, and I believe it affects my productivity and encouragement immensely. Thus my having accomplished so much yesterday and today, including things I tend to avoid(!). Anyway, I’m off to do that, to read, and to get to sleep. I’m tired and sleepy this evening, and it’s already just after 8:30pm. I have the morning workout tomorrow at 7:30, then work until 3pm. So, I want to be very well rested and up early to prepare what all food I’ll need to bring with me. (That reminds me: I need to ask about the freezer, so I can see about having the Magic Bullet here for smoothies. They work wonders after a morning workout. And for slimming down… which would be helpful right about now… Hmm… Anyway, adding it to the list for tomorrow!)

Goodnight!

Post-a-day 2022

(Barely got it…. haha)

Ce soir…

L’opéra, l’opéra, l’opéra at last. After nearly a two-year delay, Houston Grand Opera has returned to the stage officially, and we attended our first show tonight. It was lovely. Also, it was Carmen, and I love the music from Carmen. Sure, the story and lyrics are still totally typical dramatic and repetitive opera, but, goodness, that music is especially spectacular. I’m a big fan. (And I had a fan that I used during the performance, when it was a tad too warm early on. Then Carmen kept pulling out fans and using them herself. However, hers were used very much in a sultry, seductive way, and mine was merely used to cool my face and neck.)

Thank you, Georges Bizet, for this wonderful opera whose success you never got to see or know (He died only three months after its debut, and the reviews were not so great at the time.).

And thank you, God, for this opportunity in my life, and this gift to the world.

Post-a-day 2021

¿Por qué no los dos?

We met a lovely and true-to-form German man at the opera the other night.  He was so practical, 6’7″, very kind, and totally straightforward.  He was very docile and calm, but he was definitely German to the core, and in the most delightful of ways for us – it felt like interacting with family, despite the obvious distance between us.

He asked me at one point what I had studied while in Europe – my mom had mentioned my having studied in Wien and Germany.  I replied, “Language and Culture.”

He considered it, gave a small smile, and replied, “Language and culture… It sounds like everything and nothing.”

I considered his words, and chuckled heartily.  It was, indeed, true.

Conversation went to a bit of something else, and then returned to my studies and what “language and culture” meant.  “Grammar, history, arts, religion, social change, music, poetry, writing, dialects, politics…,” I listed easily, trailing off slightly by the end, all of us understanding that there obviously were many more I could list.

“So, it sounds like you are qualified for just about everything, then,” declared honestly the German.

I smiled.  “Everything and nothing…”  And we all smiled, gave a bit of a chuckle, and felt the irony of it together, to varying degrees.

I understood the turn of phrase best of all, having experienced most acutely the struggles of the truth of this joint statement of ours… I am qualified for just about everything, then,… everything and nothing…

Thus, the question remains: What, of all of that everything and nothing, do I choose to pursue right now, for now?

I think my recent thoughts have been accurate: I need some more art in my life – self-made art.  🙂

So, let’s art… for now… and let’s be comfortable and secure in the fact that it is okay to have this be for now, and to have something else, something presently unknown, be the what’s next…  Yes, indeed.

Everything and nothing, my dear… you can do it, Banana.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Singing, high and low

At the opera tonight, I found myself thinking once again about the the sound of the origination of different vocal ranges within people’s bodies in opera.

This is not at all from where the sounds actually come, but merely a feeling I always get when I hear certain ranges – like when you hear something that clearly came from around the corner to your right… that’s the kind of feeling I mean…

Divide the body two ways: front-center-back and left-middle-right.

When the first prominent bassist was singing in his deep, deep range, it felt like the sound was coming from deep within him…. center of the body’s depth, middle of the left-middle-right spectrum, and at the level just below the groin…

It made me laugh a little, actually, because it occurred to me that this tied in somewhat to the concept of boys having their organs drop, and thereby having their voices deepen… so, perhaps the bassist really do have further-dropped organs than other men… 😛

And, whenever they sing higher in their range, bassists seem to be originating their sound from middle center stomach, the lower belly level…

Moving on…

Sopranos always show up to me, when at the very top of their range, to be originating in the back middle of their throats and mouths, and even down just a bit in their throats, about where am Adam’s apple would be.

(In the middle of their range, they seem to be in the front of the throat, and even more toward the lips, the lower they go, to the point at which they seem to be singing from their front teeth in their lower range of soprano.)

For tenors, they seem to be coming from middle front and middle center at the level of the very bottom of their rib cages, and just above and behind the navel.

Baritones, I haven’t figured out yet, as I didn’t listen for it consciously tonight during the short time that we had a baritone singing solo in the show… – yes, he came back from his early death, but his ghost didn’t stick around for very long whenever it finally made its inevitable appearance… they might be at the back middle, far behind the navel, at the back of the bottom of the rib cage…., but I’m not sure.

And altos…., well, they are chorus…, so not much solo sounds there either tonight…

And countertenors, I’m pretty sure, show up as a floating bubble of air just in front of their mouths… (If you don’t know what a countertenor is, definitely look that one up – it is with knowing.)

Anyway, those are my thoughts that arose tonight again… kind of odd, huh?

It sort of makes sense, but also sort of totally doesn’t, right?

Meh… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Riding the bus with my mother

There are three lots on my block which recently have had their houses demolished.

Two of the lots are nearing the end of construction on their new houses, and the third has, so far, sat empty for a while.

Just about every morning, around 7:30, workers arrive and get to making noise on this, that, or the other part of construction for the two houses.

I have noticed a certain inattention to caution regarding trash and scraps, and so have been quite careful not ever to walk over by either of the houses, as there is an ever-changing blanket of glass, nails, wood pieces, and other sharp objects on the ground by them both.

Today, in an effort to dodge some potholes, my mother drove directly in front of these two houses…

A few hours, a free concert, and almost five hundred dollars later, she had two new rear tires on her car, out of necessity, not desire.

You see, she was picking me up to go to an opera performance, thus her being on my street in the first place.

She had dropped me off to allow me to go use the bathroom and to pick up our tickets at will-call, and gone to park her car, only to discover that the tire pressure, whose warning light had signaled on our way to the performance, was decreasing at an alarming pace, and so needed to be handled immediately.

She told me to leave her ticket at will-call for her, and that she would join me when she could, and then took her car to the one place she found open on a Sunday to handle such issues as her current tire predicament (which, fortunately, was only about a mile away from where we were).

At intermission, she joined me at our seats, her having sat at the back for the first part, due to her having arrived late.

She informed me that she had made it to the performance by asking a woman to drop her off, since it was only about a mile away from where she had had to bring her car.

We laughed at the slight absurdity of it all, and discussed how to get back to the car after the performance ended.

Yes, it was close, but the place would close only half an hour after the performance ended, and my mom wasn’t in running shoes (nor was I).

So, I offered the idea of my spare bus card.

At first, she aimed to find someone we knew after the performance ended, so as to ask for a ride.

Then, she considered Uber (but I was opposed for the cost of it, and the fact that my account isn’t set up properly anymore for here [remember how I lived in Japan]), before reconsidering just asking someone else from the performance whom we didn’t know.

We were running short on time, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help, when I had means to handle the situation myself – I’m always rather like that… if I can do it myself, even if it is more difficult, I typically still will handle it myself, so that I only ask for help when I truly need it.

So, I looked up the bus route options, and started walking to the bus stop, which was enough encouragement for my mom to give up her idea and go with mine.

I knew her main opposition was simply the same as most people’s in Houston – most people do not use the busses here, unless they financially have no other means of getting around, making the bulk of bus patronage poor laborers, cleaners, minimum wage people in rough situations, and homeless people…, and that can be an uncomfortable, and almost dangerous-feeling experience for those who do not belong to those groups of individuals…, and it can somewhat easily create a feeling of being somewhere dirty, at times…, so no one wants to ride the busses in Houston…, not really, anyway.

I, myself, struggle with it, despite the fact that I use the busses here… I want to promote public transit as much as possible, but I also prefer feeling safe and clean than the opposite, you know?

Nonetheless, it was our most logical option today (in my head, anyway), so we went for the bus.

Another lady coming from a similar downtown performance also joined us in waiting for the bus, and it was quite cool to me to see another ‘normal’ person, so to speak, taking the bus.

My mom, while waiting, mentioned how she had never ridden the bus here, and that she was a bit excited for it.

I smiled and was glad, and told her how it all worked, and that it was mostly just like any other public transit she had ridden elsewhere (except in Vienna, which has one of the best public transit systems ever, and in all aspects of it).

While riding, she asked about how to signal for our stop, and I explained her two options, however, another woman clicked for our stop first.

I told my mom that she could push the tape anyway, just to have the experience and to know what it’s like, pushing the tape on our busses, and she replied coolly and smiling, “I’m touching enough.”

We had seen a whole range of riders come aboard, including all of the stereotypes, smells and all, but also a few other ‘normal’-esque individuals.

Nonetheless, I understood entirely why she had no interest in touching anything more than was necessary at this point.

When we exited the bus, I rushed off in one direction on my predetermined path to the car place, while covering my gaze to the right hand side, and ignoring my mom’s questioning as to why I was going that particular direction, knowing that she would follow me because of my quick pace.

When we were walking into the driveway of the car place, I slowed and dropped my hand, turning toward my mom and informing her of how I had been avoiding any sort of interaction with the man who had been urinating in the trash can that was next to the bus stop.

No, I had not been certain of that being his task, but it looked to be enough so, and I had no interest in discovering anything further on the matter, and so I blocked it from my view, and headed off with the intention of getting away as soon as was possible.

It is funny to me a bit – perhaps ironic – that my mom has told me so much since I’ve moved back to Houston (from Japan) that I need to be careful here, and that it is not like Japan, and yet she does not herself seem to understand how to be careful when in Houston.

She asked why I hadn’t gone the other way around the block, and I, at first, didn’t understand why she was asking – was it not obvious?

And, of course, it wasn’t obvious, I realized… she had no idea the type of hangout that the area was, nor that more people tended to hang out over by that underpass all along its length, and that it was a better idea for us to avoid it altogether, always.

So, while being a bit nervous at my mother’s lack of understanding as to how to be safe in Downtown Houston, I also was consoled in my own ability to be safe here – without realizing it, I had developed my own appropriate way to keep myself safe here in Houston – that’s part of why I tend not to go out at night.

I typically ride my bicycle or scooter, or even take the bus or walk for getting around anywhere near me, and none of those is a very good idea at night…., so I usually just don’t go.

I had begun to think it was merely because of my anti-social emotional side lately, and my dislike for drunk people, but this had me recall that it is more than just an aversion for stupid people that keeps me in most nights. 😛

Anyway, my mom picked up her car and was bummed about having to spend the money, as was I, but we were grateful for the bit of time we had been able to spend letting my mom experience a Houston Metro bus, and that, at the very least, the concert itself had been free.

But this did remind me of that time we drove way up north to a special spring to get some free, natural spring sulfurous water straight from the source – the city had it posted that anyone could come have water from it, so long as the sun is up – and then drive back home an hour and a half, during which time my mom commented, “Well, that was the most expensive free water I’ve ever gotten,” referring to the gasoline cost and the tolls crossed for the journey. 😛

It’s been a bit of a joke of ours ever since then.

And so, today’s performance, one could say, was the most expensive free concert we’ve ever attended. 😛

(Actually, my mom did say that… haha… I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just something I’d thought, but that seems actually said aloud. 😂)

Post-a-day 2019