Sunday, March 26, 2006

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I finally got a day of sloth today, but I could use another one before heading back to work tomorrow.

Saturday I taught two, four-hour SAT review sessions to high school students at work. My employer offered the sessions for marketing reasons (and because we want to be good local citizens). I volunteered for it because I'm really good at standardized tests, have taught for a test prep company in the past, and got paid handsomely for my time. I re-discovered several things I should have remembered. 1) High school students, at least the ones who are willing to give up a Saturday to prepare for the SAT, are not scary. They were really sort of fun. 2) My voice starts to wear out at about hour 5 of talking. 3) My feet were sore much earlier, despite wearing my comfy shoes. I actually whimpered when I got home and took off my shoes. 4) The filter in my brain that prevents me from swearing a lot at work gets weaker and weaker as I become more and more tired. The HS students were amused. Trent suggested that swearing was probably the best recruiting thing I could have done, since it would differentiate me from their high school teachers. (N.B. It wasn't a lot of swearing, just a "damn" or two and maybe a "hell.")

The one thing I got right was remembering to eat enough protein. ProMax protein bars are nasty tasting, but I didn't keel over halfway through the morning.

Saturday night, we went to see Simon Shaheen at Town Hall. Shaheen and his ensemble play mostly traditional Arabic music, and for last night's show they made a special effort to play pieces from Egyptian cinema (which was a major medium for music from about 1930-50) because the show was being co-sponsored by the Seattle Arabic and Iranian Film Festival. Trent and I saw Shaheen and his ensemble play years ago at Duke, so we knew it would be good. But, wow, the show was truly amazing. I was dog-tired, but I found myself totally transported by some of the pieces they played. They had a vocalist with them, and he was amazing. That's the second time I've used that word in this paragraph, but I really can't think of a better one. At some points, his range, control, and sustain just made my jaw drop.

The crowd included many people of obviously Arabic background, including the people sitting in front of us and behind us. The woman behind us was one of those beautifully dressed little old ladies who looks silmultaneously frail and like she'll outlive us all. When the vocalist started, I heard her start talking to her husband (I assume that's who he was). At first I was irritated, but then I really began to enjoy the way they would exclaim at the vocalist's abilities, and (loudly) whisper the name of each song they recognized as soon as they figured it out. It really felt like being part of a remarkable community experience.

For those of you moved by my glowing review, Shaheen will be playing in Seattle again at McCaw Hall on May 27 and 28 (I believe as part of Folklife).

Monday night, we're most likely going to the Tractor to see Po' Girl and Datri Bean, and Tuesday we have tickets to Beth Orton. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

In my few spare moments since my last post, I've continued on my Cirque du Socks sock. I've just finished the gusset decreases.

I'm also still working on the Crofter's Slipover (and about 7 other projects that are currently waiting for my wandering attention to come back their way). I even got some spinning done today.


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