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Wendy found out today that she will be going to Chicago in April to represent the CSO at the international conference held each year by MOLA! MOLA is the Major Orchestra’s Librarian Association, a professional association that helps librarians communicate with each other to benefit each other and their orchestras. You might think this is pretty nerdy, and perhaps it is so, but really it’s no different than my being in the ICA or any other association of like-minded or similarly employed people. Nerdiness indeed serves a purpose: it means one has passion bordering on obsession for what one does! It means one truly cares about what edition of a certain score was published when and what mistakes were corrected in it! It means that my music will be prepared with the utmost dedication to precision! It means a lot. Anyway, I’m really excited about Wendy going this year. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have represent our orchestra. Certainly she can help change the perception of music librarians being a haggard, haphazard bunch of pasty-faced, bespectacled bores.

Comfort food can be almost anything. It could be a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, cookies (whether it be the girl scout variety or famous amos), fried chicken or even goetta. For me it is fried rice. You can make it in a hundred different ways and put almost anything you want in it. The best thing is how easy it is. It’s a one pot wonder. Throw everything in, add some sauce and mix it up and you’re done. You’ve got a whole meal in one bowl. The only thing that is a must, that cannot be deviated from is EGGS. That one ingredient is the main contributor to the comfort in this particular comfort food. We made a gimongous bowl of it today – this photo doesn’t quite do it justice.

trefoils.jpgToday I received my Girl Scout cookie order, and promptly ate a large portion of them for dinner – very adult, I know. I heard a great commentary by Marc Acito today on NPR, but sadly I couldn’t find a copy of it online to share. I did find one by Andy Rooney for 60 Minutes, which I found quite interesting. Initially I was going to post his article, but I didn’t want to be held responsible for ruining one’s faith in those tempting treats like I did when my brother Tim told me Santa wasn’t real. (Actually Tim was the one who ruined it, and it wasn’t about cookies, just in Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and the ideal that my parents would never lie to me so I guess it’s nothing like that at all). In any event, read his article Deconstructing the Girl Scout Cookie if you think you can handle it.

 Update:  Marc Acito himself commented below with this link to his commentary, Finding Binge Absolution in a Do-Si-Do.

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In one of Ixi’s first photo sites, she had this photo posted with “Simon’s paws are fat and cute” and indeed they are. They have to be, in order to support his prowling gait which you can hear all over the house. If you sit still long enough, it sounds as if someone is plodding around, very slowly and deliberately. I have on more than one occasion mistaken his foot noise for the Bean’s. If there’s one thing I like, it’s a male that knows where he’s going, even if it is to the water bowl. I guess we still consider him male, though his meow, by far the girliest of all of the cats we’ve ever cared for, often betrays him.

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As I’ve gotten older, some of my tastes are a bit more refined. I believe in ‘cocktail hour’ and the vodka martini. Always my favorite kind of martini, I’ve strayed from the ever-popular flavored martinis, such as the appletini. Some claim, and I concur, that the appletini shouldn’t even be considered a martini, and you should be forced to drink it out of a giant apple-shaped glass that says, “I can’t handle a real drink” with a straw. If you’re a girl, this is acceptable, but otherwise this is prime mancard revoking behavior. I digress. PBR is a thing of the past for me, and my favorite vodka would have to be Ciroc (42below wins for best ads)- but I’ll still drink a pitcher of Lager without hesitation. Stigma, stereotype, survival or truth – call it what you will, but as musicians enjoying the adult drink is almost a given. Belvedere, my other favorite, has introduced a new pear vodka, so this Sunday, post Pops Concert, we will be enjoying some new recipes with Randy tending bar. I can only imagine how that will turn out.

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What follows that phrase? Why edible egg of course. I may not know if eggs are good or bad for you, but I do know I love them. I love them in all their splendid forms, and I might actually have an addiction to them. I have a dealer; a percussionist in the CSO has his own chickens, and he delivers them to me at work – fresh, organic, free range, and oh-so tasty. Now perhaps this is a bit more than some would like to know and a somewhat unusual food craving, but to love me is to love my addictions.

And this is just one.

Tonight was the Gergiev performance that I had been waiting all season to attend, and no amount of ‘upper respiratory infection’ was going to keep me down. Slightly high on a cocktail of Robitussin, Zicam, and a few others, I managed to keep my drool from the amazing music and numbness from the entire bag of cough drops I’d consumed in check. I managed not to embarrass my arm candy for the evening, Miss Meghan.

In between psychadelic trips, I had one of those moments where I realize how much I love what I do, and I am very happy to be a working musician, as it were. Usually a fantastic recording, or great performances, like this one, stir up those feelings. I’m always aware at how hard it is to “make it” on audition days, when droves of the finest conservatory graduates (and sometimes, less fine) descend on Cincinnati, and would be all too pleased to perform with sheet boy, a singing band of howler monkeys, and the Pops. I think often of my BFF, Jennifer C. Porto, who has been auditioning with gusto in the European opera circuit, in hopes of staying in Germany when her time as a Fulbright Scholar concludes. Obviously, the JP is smart and talented, and I have no doubt that she will make it big. I have so much respect for her as an academic and musician – and she reminds me not to take living the dream – to get paid for what you would do for free – for granted.

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After my interview with P&G, I was whistlin’ Wendixi. “Why?” you ask. It’s because I needed a place to crash, and I really like musical lesbians. Since arriving, I have been well taken care of. Wendixi has much to offer… 2 cats, a wireless network, a cheese plate in the fridge, comfortable couch (burgundy), stimulating conversations revolving around music, and plenty of Law & Order episodes on TiVo. What more could a wayward traveler want? Simply put, best ever!!!

A note – David hails from the ‘Boo, described to me as someplace far off in the middle of Wisconsin. He met Whitney in college, and the rest they say is history. David, like a lot of my friends, is freakishly tall, fairly dark, and well, handsome, with manners to boot. We’re hoping that this engineer will accept a job at P&G and come join us for some fun, midwest style, and ladies, he’s single…

I should also mention that Ixi and I, though musical, are not actual lesbians. (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

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We had rehearsal this afternoon with one of the most intruiging and compelling of conductors in the world, Valery Gergiev, a man who is a legend in his own time. He is principal conductor of the Mariinsky Theater and Mariinsky Opera (previously Kirov Opera) in St. Petersburg, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. He is also principal guest conductor of the Met Opera in NY. We worked through Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 with Gergiev playing with the layers of sound, using expressive gestures to draw out the colors and textures he wanted. He was, in a word, captivating. Come tomorrow night, the performance begins at 8:00!

The Year of the Pig The Pig
1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

As I may have mentioned before, New Year holidays are probably my fave. I think I like the appeal that suddenly one month, you get a chance to start completely over. The gluttonous lifestyle from recent days seems magically erased, and you can pursue projects with renewed vigor with the outlook of “this time, I’m going to make it.” As we usher in the Year of the Pig, there’s even a second chance for those resolutions that may have slipped through cracks since January 01. I’m still compiling my list of what I want this year to be, but I think I’m going to try to tackle the mother-load – trying to act like this adult that the rest of the world seems to believe I am. Of course, that’s the great thing – you can make this year into anything, and as a great artist said, “I don’t get many things right the first time” so I’ll take what I can get.

I should also add that Presidents Day is also a lovely holiday, because I get a three day weekend!

February 2007
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Please ask before using my photos or content from this blog or my website. I most often say yes and I'd like to know who to thank. The photos and content of this blog are under copyright. All rights reserved. © Ixi Chen

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