Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Exciting and Productive Weekend

Seth and I have had quite an fun and productive weekend. Yesterday, we went to the local movie theater to see The Met's new opera, The Enchanted Island, live in HD. The opera is completely new this season. It is a Baroque pastiche -- in layman's terms a "mash-up" for Baroque music. The opera has music from Handel, Vivaldi, and  Rameau. The creators of the new opera, took this existing music, not often heard on the stage at the Met, and put it to new libretto with a new story. The singers who started in the opera even had involvement in the creative process and were able to suggest the inclusion of some of their favorite arias.

Just as the music was taken from a variety of artists, the story was a merger, this time of two of Shakespeare's plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest. The sets and costumes were absolutely amazing -- very lavish. Here are some pictures to give you the idea.

The opera was a lot of fun for Seth and me. This was the first opera we've gone to see that hadn't been a tragedy. Indeed, like with the Shakespeare plays, things turn out (relatively) happy at the end. Also, because this was a new American opera, the libretto was in English, a first for me. 

I was also very interested at the use of ballet in the opera. Since reading the book Apollo's Angels, a detailed history of ballet, I have been watching ballet on Netflix and paying close attention to the usage of ballet in any opera I see. The usage in The Enchanted Island was very traditional -- it was used to lighten the mood was the opera got "too heavy". I think that the French, who basically invented ballet, especially ballet in opera, as we know it, would be proud.

Following the opera, we headed over to our favorite nice restaurant in town, Tabellas. There we enjoyed some farm fresh food including chickpea and pumpkin fries, chicken wings, risotto with mushrooms and leeks, and chicken in an orange glaze. I had a nice glass of veltliner, a white wine. For dessert, Seth had an apple crumble and I had a dark chocolate pot 'o cream. Everything was delicious!

Today, to make up for the decadence of yesterday, we got a lot of chores done. Before lunch we had gone to the market (Seth), done two washes (me), and cleaned the house (me)! I also took the morning to finish up the last of my month one Insanity workouts. I now have one "recovery week" in which I do a non-cardio based exercise DVD and then it's on to month two. While I don't appear to have lost any weight, this is not really the goal. The Insanity workout, for me, is a challenge. I hope I am up to month two! Fortunately, my plyo mat has finally come in the mail, and it is proving quite the help -- my feet and calves feel much better when using it to cushion my landings. 

We also did a major project today: the first big clean of the pellet stove. While I scrape out the burn pot and clean the glass on the stove twice a week, after a ton or so of pellets is burned, it's time for a big clean. 

We started by powering down the stove, unplugging it, and allowing it to cool. We opened it up. There was a lot of ash, especially in the ash pan.

I removed the ash pan and emptied the cool ask into a bucket we have. The pellet stove produces very little ash since the pellets that we use have a low moisture content. We'll save our ash from the entire winter in the pail we have and then use it to fertilize our garden come the spring. 

With the ash pan removed, the stove looked like this.

Very dirty! All this dust, ash, and creosote, would overtime, build up and make the stove much less effective. Less effective mean less safe and less efficient at producing heat. We got to work fast, cleaning out the entire stove so it would run most effectively.

We scraped down all the surfaces. We opened up the burn pot and scraped that out too. We then took our ash vacuum and cleaned out the whole thing. The vacuum worked like a champion!

Now our stove looks like this. Much better.

At present, the stove is happily blowing hot air my direction making me very very happy.

I also plan this weekend to finish up the blanket I am making for my friend, Maddy. As you may recall, the blanket looks like this:

I have about a dozen more rows to do before I bind off and finish the whole thing. Exciting times!

I already have my next project picked out: a baby blanket for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law for the baby they are expecting in June. I have picked a blanket from Brooklyn Tweed. Here's a picture of the blanket from their website.

I'm planning to knit it in a superwash merino (for washability) in ice blue to match the color scheme for their nursery. I look forward to starting work next week.

1 comment:

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