Friday, July 27, 2018

I love bulbs!

Back this spring I bought several pots of spring flowers - 2 pots of mini-daffodils, 1 of small pink tulips, and 2 of larger tulips, also pink.  This morning I planted the bulbs (didn't want to wait until fall).  To my delight, not only had the daffs multiplied, but the tulip bulbs had "sidecar" bulbs too.  I randomized daffs and tulips in the front of the square patch and planted the bulk of the tulips in the corner by the front door.

I also had some seed-looking things from the dried-up tulips, which I planted in front of the hellebore.  Now to wait until next April to see whether they actually produce anything.

I also did a little weeding.  My lone lavender is loving this crazy weather (record heat for 2 weeks, followed by a week of monsoons).  It produces more leaves than flowers, but the flowers have a lovely, if subtle, fragrance.  I may yet plant more next year.

So much for sleeping in...

The 6th Great Gilbert & Sullivan Sing-Out will be held Labor Day weekend.  Sunday morning is scheduled to start with Utopia, Limited, not one of my favorites, followed by Iolanthe and Gondoliers, which are two of my favorites.  I had planned to skip Utopia and sleep in a little; not going to happen.  The joke's on me.  It turns out I'll be singing the lead contralto in Utopia.  That means that not only do I not get to sleep in, but I'll want to get up a little earlier than I otherwise might, to make sure my voice is awake for Lady Sophy. 😵

Monday, July 09, 2018

Called that one wrong

It seems my Grand Duke audition didn't go nearly as well as I thought.  Not only did I not get the Baroness, but I wasn't even offered one of the comprimario roles.  Ah well, chorus will be easy, given that I've sung the show before.  Not getting a role in Grand Duke means I'm still in the running, at least theoretically, for a role in the Sing-Out.  That announcement will be published sometime Wednesday.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

FINALLY starting to nail this singing thing

I've gotten a lot of very encouraging feedback on my singing lately.  First was this semester's jury - the panel's comments were generally very positive.

When I sang my jury pieces for a friend who's a professional singer and voice teacher, he was very complimentary about my musicality, breath, line, and more - all the things I've been working on so hard lately.  He capped it with "You were someone who likes to sing.  Now you're someone who sings."  Coming from him, a person who doesn't give compliments lately, that means A LOT!  I still do a happy dance when I think of it. 😄

I had an audition the other night and used my Handel jury piece, even though I was auditioning for a G&S show, just to show them what I can do nowadays.  The MD got this look on his face that I chose to interpret as "Wouldya look at what she can do!"  The director hadn't heard me in 7 years and commented on how much "fuller" my voice is now.  I told her I'd been working on it and she said, "It shows."

This morning I led the responsorial psalm at mass and had at least 4 people tell me how beautiful it sounded.

I still have a lot of work to do, getting all my technical stuff to be more automatic and "hard-wired," but I'm finally at the point where the years of voice lessons are starting to pay off.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Recipe - modified rapture

While the Strawberry Cream on Shortbread didn't work out - I'll have to come up with something else to give the new neighbors - the berry trifle I took to this evening's party was a big success.  The cream filling was too thick to work down into the cake (layers were cake/filling/berries, repeat), so the cake was a bit dry.  However, it tasted good, and people were ridiculously impressed with how pretty it looked.  I actually had at least 2 people ask if I measured or used a ruler to place the strawberries!  No, I just placed 'em individually instead of throwing 'em in any old how, the way I did with the berries that don't show. 😄

KAF, you failed me!

Today I tried the King Arthur Flour recipe for Strawberry Cream on Shortbread.  The recipe reviews were quite favorable, with no warnings about the filling.

To my disappointment, the berry puree never set up, so when I folded in the whipped cream, the filling thickened but never solidified, even after 3 or 4 hours in the fridge.  I had made it in a springform pan, but didn't dare release it or I'd've had strawberry glop all over the place.  At the Chief's suggestion, I put it in the freezer before we left for a Fourth party at friends'.  When we came back, nearly 4 hours later, the filling was still a bit soupy in the middle!  I have no idea how long the gelatin had been sitting in the pantry; can gelatin lose its effectiveness?

It also didn't have as strong a strawberry taste as we'd expected.  Maybe it needed a bit more sugar; the recipe gave a range on the sugar amount and I went with the lower amount.

I've tried dozens of KAF recipes over the years and have usually been very happy with them.  Unless I can figure out why the filling never set, though, this one falls into the "don't make again" category. 😕