Happy 90th Birthday, Mr. Willoughby!

June 6, 2011 / 0 Comments

Taken after my performance on Robert Willoughby's 90th Birthday Concert, June 5, 2011, New Castle Congregational Church, New Castle, New Hampshire

Chicago!

June 5, 2011 / 0 Comments

Vacation time!  After a busy spring and my sister’s wedding, Greg and I took a quick vacation to Chicago to visit family and friends. I’ve been a fan of Top Chef since almost the first season. My sister-in-law, Cindy, who knows everything cool happening in Chicago made reservations back in March when we booked the trip to eat at Stephanie Izard’s new trendy restaurant called Girl and the Goat. The restaurant serves small plates and usually offers 10 veggie dishes, 10 fish dishes, and 10 meat dishes.  You order to share and then the kitchen orders the food for service! After sipping on a cocktail and sharing a bottle of wine, we only remembered to take a few pictures of what we ate as the evening went on. First up was some delicious grilled asparagus! (Please excuse the photo quality – taken on an iPhone!)

Grilled Asparagus!

The other veggie dishes we shared were a plate of chickpea fritters (pictured below) and roasted cauliflower.

Chickpea Fritters at Girl and the Goat

Our other delicious bites included calamari, halibut, pork ribs, pork belly, and pig face (pictured below). I was hesitant to try the pig face but Cindy recommended that we order it since the last time she was at Girl and the Goat, her friends raved about the pig face. The egg was very tasty but the actual pig face part was not my favorite. If I had to use one word to describe the way pig face tasted, I would use the word “gooey”. One bite was plenty for me on this dish.

Pig Face with an Egg at Girl and the Goat

We were stuffed so we opted to skip dessert and head home. Overall the food was quite excellent, service was nice, and it was fun to see Stephanie expediting at the kitchen. I did notice the next morning that my clothes I’d worn to the restaurant smelled like I’d been camping – most likely due to the open and smoky kitchen!

We brunched at Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill the next morning down by the Chicago River.  I found the food to be better than some of the Interior Mexican food that we can find in Boston, but I believe Polvo’s in Austin still wins my vote over Frontera any day.

Ashley and Cindy

We spent some time walking down the river, across Michigan Avenue, and wandered in Millennium Park.  Cloud Gate, aka, “The Bean” is a very striking sculpture; albeit pretty smudged with fingerprints from everyone touching it while posing for pictures. We took an informative Architectural Boat Tour on the Chicago river, stopped for some average-tasting fro-yo, walked up the rest of Michigan Avenue and along Lakeshore Drive back to Nate and Cindy’s place. After freshening up for dinner, we met up at Fiorentino’s Cucina Italiana with Greg’s college roommate and friend, Chris, and his wife Melanie. We enjoyed a nice Italian meal, cab-hopped to Webster’s Wine Bar, and finally ended up at the Goose Island Brewery near Wrigley Field.

Bean Reflections

Walking along Lake Michigan

Chicago Skyline near Lake Michigan Beach

I spent Sunday morning sitting on a bench on the shores of Lake Michigan with my ex-Longy violist Alisa, who was kind enough to drive down from Northwestern to chat! We ended up spending most of Sunday afternoon wandering around Lincoln Park Zoo with Nate, Cindy, Chris, Melanie, and their 2 cute kids!

Kaze forever!

My favorite animal - the lions!

Sunday was topped off with one final meal at the Wildfire Restaurant in Chicago with Greg’s dad who just got into town on business. We walked around Old Town on Monday morning, munched on some un-memorable salads for lunch, and took the “L” to the airport where we endured a 2.5+ hour ground delay out of Boston. Since our flight to Chicago arrived an unheard of 30 minutes early, it only figures that we must balance that out with a major delay. No harm was done and we finally made it back to Boston after a great quick trip!

Join Me at a Couple New England Summer Music Camps

February 27, 2011 / 0 Comments

This summer I am teaching at two music camps in New England. If you are a young flutist, this is an excellent opportunity to improve your playing and make new friends.

Indian Hill Music SummerDayMusic

July 25 – August 5, 2011, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

An innovative two-week program for ages 8-18 that balances traditional instrument and music theory study with opportunities to discover the diverse world of music. Core curriculum provides essential instruction in technique and musicianship, and elective classes foster creativity and exploration of new instruments and musical styles. Performances are focused on learning and sharing music together, so students are encouraged to play and sing in a variety of ensembles. Students’ experiences are broadened as they learn to work together, and to inspire and support each other in the educational process.  More information available here.

NCMS Flute Festival

July 11-15, 2011 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Designed for students entering grades 6-12 in Fall 2011

Join us for our 7th year of FLUTE, FUN, and FRIEND. Each day includes warm-ups focusing on technique and tone, solo master classes, flute choir, and a chance to play with a pianist. NCMS flute teacher Ashley Addington will be joined by special guest artists throughout the week, giving students new insight and perspective from a variety of teachers. Students should bring a snack, lunch and a beach towel or yoga mat each day.  More information here.

The Penny-Whistle Song

February 21, 2011 / 0 Comments

We performed Leroy Anderon’s Penny-Whistle Song on NVPO’s “Pops in Love” Concert. After years of playing the famous Christmas tune, Sleighride, this was my first time to play this flute feature. I also learned the Leroy Anderson spent most of his life living in Cambridge, MA. Enjoy!

The other members of the flute section are Mana Washio and Pamela Daniels.

Cat and Metronome

February 7, 2011 / 0 Comments

Love it!  I will have to track down an old-style metronome and see what Dolce does.

Sewing on snow days

February 3, 2011 / 0 Comments

Project #1: Small Bag (cell phone picture)

The unexpected number of snow days in Boston this winter has allowed me time to play catch up with my to-do list and afforded a few free moments to cultivate my crafty personality by spending time with a sewing machine, fabrics, scissors, thread, and an iron.

Back Story: I could from a line of wonderfully talented and crafty women in my family. Both of my grandmothers were fabulous sewers. Growing up, Carmen and I had were lucky enough some of the most wonderful costumes to play dress-up in as kids that were made my paternal Grandma. My favorite set were handmade dresses from Cinderella, which included 3 Fairy Godmother dresses in blue, red, and green (complete with pointed hats) and one of course for Cinderella herself. Continuing the tradition, my mom and aunts (on both sides of the family) have become successful sewing crafters in their own ways creating quilts, baby blankets, purses, luggage tags, and more.

My mom bought me sewing machine from Christmas 2009 and after a few trips to Joann’s Fabrics and browsing Barnes and Noble for trendy sewing books, I completed my first bag last March.

Tab Curtains with Sunflowers from the Farmer's Market and a Cat

The sewing machine rested for the remainder of the spring as I struggled to find motivation and time to start a new project. Fortunately, I did discover the Fabric Corner store up the way in Arlington and fell in love with fabric selection there – all of the beautiful fabrics by designers that I hadn’t seen at Joann’s like Amy Butler, Marimekko, Anthology, Kaffe Fassett, and more. It is easy to spend an hour in the store browsing fabrics and imagining all of the fun projects I could work on.

We moved to a new apartment in July and I embarked on some home decoration of the curtain and pillow variety thanks to the help of the Somerville Public Library. It turns out to be very convenient to having a library I can see out the living room window for the very purpose of impulsively checking out five books on curtain design. With limited skills, I selected a pattern for a tab curtain and used a beautiful Australian Aboriginal print from a line carried at Fabric Corner.

One Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Haskins

I had my eye on these books all year and am looking forward to working through some of the projects.

Three bags have been created over the last month – one for myself, one for my sister-in-law, Alycia, and one for Kathryn. Each new bag has improved from the previous one as I’ve learned from the process and experimented with new techniques, different stitching options, played around with pockets and interfacing, and dealt with magnetic snaps.

Flower Bag

Sewing is definitely good practice for my patience, especially when it comes to threading the bobbin! I have gained great satisfaction from finishing each project and love totting my new bag around. There are still so many basic sewing skills that I can improve on as well as a variety of projects in my crafty books that I haven’t even tried yet. Just as my life as a musician, I embrace the idea that there will always be something new to learn.

Enough crafting for tonight! It’s time to get back to practicing Dutilleux, Boehm, and Bach to record this weekend for the NFA competition and the slew of music for concerts coming up in February and March.

Single or double?

January 29, 2011 / 0 Comments

Do you single or double space? I used to always believe the rule was to double-space between sentences. Since so many of Greg’s co-workers at BU are graphic designers, I’ve been privy to learning some of their visual secrets. Take a peek at this article on typography.

What are your thoughts?

Snow Day #1

January 23, 2011 / 0 Comments

Snowy Street

This is the fourth winter I have lived in New England.
There is a good chance it will be my snowiest one yet.
We have had three snow days and it is only January.
At this point, I might be teaching make-up lessons until July.

Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2010 / 0 Comments

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Looking back, 2010 was a musically satisfying year of fabulous concerts, collaborations, and dedicated students as well as fun travel, entertaining Boston visitors, crafting adventures, and a new apartment!

We ventured around the world to:

  • France and Iceland for a 1st-anniversary trip
  • Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to see Greg’s brother, Nathan marry Cindy
  • New York City for AMP New Music concerts
  • Houston, Texas to see Kathryn and Josh to tie the knot
  • Tennessee for family Christmas with the Cornelius family
  • Various trips around New England from Kittery, ME to Newburyport, MA to Cape Cod, MA

We are watching the Boston snow storm from Christmas in Tennessee with Greg’s family.  I wish we were back in Boston to see all the snow.  Check out the projected snow totals according to Channel 7 News in Boston.

Projected snow totals!

2011 looks to be exciting and kicks off with an exciting concert on January 7th. Rachel and I are excited to perform on the Vortex Series for New and Improvised Music on their first concert in their new location at the Democracy Center in Cambridge.  Check out the link here and the performance calendar on my website for more information on the concert.

The spring includes a few concerts and trips, culminating in a visit to Austin in May where my younger sister, Carmen, is getting married in the Austin Hill Country.  She will be a beautiful bride!

Sisters on an Alaskan Cruise - May 2005

Happy New Year!  Stay tuned for more upcoming events.

Fall Wrap-up

December 6, 2010 / 1 Comment

This fall was a blur of teaching and playing – my intentions of posting on the blog once a week definitely did not follow through.  Luckily, December looks like I will have more time to breathe!  Gregory and I wrapped up November with a long-delayed “honeymoon”, although I like to consider it our “1st  Anniversary” trip since we celebrated one year of marriage on October 3rd.  We left on a red-eye from Boston and work up in Reykjavik, Iceland for a quick 24-hour stop on the island.  A few years ago, we watched this movie “Reykjavik 101” and I kept having flashbacks to the dark, desolate-looking city as it didn’t start to get light until after 10 AM.  We arrived at our hotel at 8 AM and wandered aimlessly for a few hours in the morning around the city waiting for shops to open and people to come out.

City View of Reykjavik

Quiet downtown street

As we woke up early the next morning to catch the flight to Paris, we found out why no one was out on Saturday morning – we had just missed all of the partying until 6 AM when we arrived!  The Icelandic people definitely know how to party.

Our 9 days in Paris were wonderful!  Greg spent six weeks during the summer in 2001 studying in Paris and I had traveled through Paris twice – once in high school and once in college, but this was our first time to experience the city together.  The tourist scene was very quiet as there were not many Americans around.  We took in 3 concerts: Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joshua Redman, an interdisciplinary dance/music concert at IRCAM, and an evening of chamber orchestra with Ensemble Intercontemporain.  The last concert left me feeling so inspired to perform!   Of course, delicious food, great museums, and long walks through the city rounded out the trip.

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