The Rite of Spring

Blog readers:

I am not often at a loss for words. I am now.

There is just no way to describe the awesome epicness of BalletMet and Columbus Symphony’s Rite of Spring. It is beyong adjectives. I was amazed, exhilarated, thrilled–I wanted to get up there and dance. James Kudelka’s choreography seems to me to be so close to what Nijinsky had done back in 1913 Paris. I’ve seen several of his works, and I think this is clearly his best effort yet.

Jean-Marie Zeitouni and the CSO were in top-notch, world-class form on all the pieces, but in Rite, they were glorious. Everything about it was perfect. The dancers, wearing dyed pointe shoes and mismatched costumes (that they pulled from the costume shop themselves) channeled the primitive, sometimes disturbing (as when the sacrifice occurs at the end) but always incredible emotions that permeate and pull this work forward to its conclusion. I have never had a more thrilling evening at the ballet, or the symphony.

If you live in Columbus, or anywhere near, you must come. Two more performances, one tomorrow evening and one Sunday matinee. DO. IT.

The performance also has Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun (DeBussy), with choreography by Amedeo Amodio, and Rapsodie Espagnole (Ravel) with choreography by company dancer Jimmy Orrante. The costumes for this were fantastic, and the three men and three women who danced this piece brought the Spanish influences to life with their clear, crisp dancing and Spanish inspired costumes.


Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 13



OK, first a note.

My Traditional Catholic brethren: If you don’t start being at least marginally charitable to Pope Francis (like, I dunno, start calling him the pope, as opposed to “the current occupant of the Petrine ministry-and I didn’t make that up), until/if he does something incredibly egregious, I am going to a) stop reading your blogs and b) take a really, REALLY dim view of the Extraordinary Form of Mass, if this is how it makes you. End of note.


Now, onto happier things! Like, virginal sacrifices! Yes today is Rite of Spring day! The program showcases the artists of BalletMet and the 109 members of the Columbus Symphony (That’s like maybe 140 people on stage. Imagine that.) The program: Rhapsody Espagnole, Afternoon of a Faun, and the Rite. There are instruments like piccolo clarinet (which Tiff–the MA in Clarinet Performance, so the expert–says is an E-flat clarinet), a bass clarinet (I knew what that was) and lots of other fun instruments!


I will, of course, have a post about Da Rite, once we’re back. Bien sur! Who do you think I am!?!


To whet your whistle, here’s a costuming tidbit or two from BalletMet:

The dancers were allowed to select their own costume. The idea was that they looked sort of disjointed and a bit, well, ragged. So the costume department pulled about 250 pieces from their vast costume shop (which I’ve seen, it’s amazing) and let the dancers pick. Also, the pointe shoes are dyed great colors like royal blue, yellow, and scarlet!


Books: I started reading Game of Thrones, but probably won’t get into it until this weekend. Still reading Summa, and I found my box of Dear America books, so I’ve been delighting in them as well.


OK so knitting? I can do the knot. I can cast on. The knit stitch is defeating me. I think I understand it, in theory. I put the R needle behind the first strich on the left (like under the thread). I hold both needles in my L hand and put the yarn counterclockwise around the R hand needle, so the yarn is between the needles. And then I sort of lose it….help?


I want it to be warm. Like no more snow. No more frost. Weather is NOT cooperating!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 25

Outside my window::

It is cold and misty/drizzly. I WANT WARM. Rain is better than snow, but still, it’s depressing to have these cold temps.

I am wearing::

A red short-sleeved cashmere sweater with roses on the left neck; a gray layered skirt, gray socks, black boots.

I am reading::

Summa of a Summa; Death on a Friday Afternoon; Praying with the Dominicans. I re-read the Percy Jackson series over the weekend, so that was fun. 🙂

From the kitchen::

Aglio olio pasta before ballet class tonight–carbs! 🙂 I think a shrimp recipe tomorrow night, or possibly soup and sandwich, given the weather….

Listening to::

Renee Fleming, Dark Hope but about to change it to Jesus Christ Superstar. Yeah, I know. 🙂


Daily office going well, over all, as is spiritual reading. I’m also incorporating some of the Nashville Dominican’s prayers, like the Litany to St. Dominic.

Working out::

Returning to ballet class tonight, because I miss it! I may go again tomorrow night, or go to yoga class, or do circuits here at home. So many possibilities. 🙂 We’ll see how tonight’s class goes.

Around the house::

The spring closet clean-out continues, as does the organizing of the book room. And my kitchen table looks like a ream of paper exploded on it, so I need to deal with that too!

Plans for the week::

Not a whole lot other than my workout classes, and RITE OF SPRING on Friday! So massively excited. And of course Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass is tomorrow. 🙂


Peonies for St. Cecilia

Peonies for St. Cecilia

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 12



So last weekend was all about Nashville! If you haven’t read the Nashville posts, you can find them all conveniently listed here. (I realize that links here can be hard to see–they’re sort of a forest green. So trust me when I say, it’s there. 🙂 )


After the retreat, the sisters were lovely to send us a follow-up email with the group picture, a booklist, and some more spiritual direction tips. The first is “the heroic minute”–getting up right when the alarm goes off. (I think St. Josemaria is the one who named it thus.) Let me tell you, it’s indeed heroic. I like that snooze button waaaaay too much.


The book list was pretty awesome. I’ll share it with you in a later post, because it’s among my Nashville papers that I still haven’t organized. The Summa is on it, however, and I am making progress there–I’ve read about 100 pages. One of the things the sisters do every day is 15 minutes of spiritual reading, so I’ve adapted that habit for my “studious” spiritual reading–the stuff that requires my total focus and brain power. The Summa is definitely that.


So the other big thing this week: Pope Francis! I must say, I am really dismayed with how some Church traditionalists are getting on the guy for not wearing certain things (an amice? What the heck, folks). To me, he looks like John Paul II in his attire, and in his habits. But I have recently found out some didn’t like his approach to liturgy either. Sigh.

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Just because I attend an NO (Novus Ordo, the “English” Mass) that doesn’t mean I don’t like and want good liturgy. I do not like guitar Masses. I do not want puppets or dancing or any crazy vestments. God deservers proper, reverent worship. I believe that can happen in English. At my parish, we have chant. We have good preaching (Dominicans, bien sur!), we have devotion. You can have the NO and have it. So the EF (extraordinary form, the Latin Mass, the Tridentine Mass, whatever you want to call it) is not the only way to have reverence.

Are all parishes like this? Oh, my goodness, no. And I wish that would change. I think the new translation will be very helpful in restoring some lost reverence in these places.

Let us not criticize our brand new Pontiff because he doesn’t chant blessings, he doesn’t wear certain things, etc., etc. He seems very holy, devoted to prayer and Our Lady, and otherwise a solid man. I don’t know much about him; I imagine few lay people do. But let’s stop. the.freak.out. NOW.


So Rite of Spring is next week. Have I told you about this? Our symphony and ballet companies are joining forces to put on this tempestuous classic of dance and music. Since the riot at the 1913 premier, the original choreography is lost, and it’s rarely performed, especially with both complete symphony and ballet company together. We are so fortunate to see it here in Columbus! I have been waiting about a year for this, ever since it was announced last March.

If you aren’t familiar with the Rite of Spring: it’s the dinosaur segment from Fantasia.

(This is the final segment, not the beginning; I tried to find the beginning but YouTube was not obliging for what I wanted. The beginning, though, is recognizable from its very high, strange bassoon part.)


I’m re-reading the Percy Jackson series. “I kissed the poodle. You kiss the poodle.” I just crack up laughing. Great stuff, even if I am totally outside of the target age range. 🙂


I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April! So excited. This time I think I’m planning a YA novel, with my dad’s mom’s as the inspiration for one of the main characters (don’t worry, Dad, it’s good!). I’m really excited about this one!

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 23

Outside my window::

It’s sunny and breezy. I want spring. Now. 🙂 Today is sort of obliging.

I am wearing::

a kelly green boatneck top and a full skirt with a lemon print on a cream background. Talbot’s makes the best full skirts. I had on brown flats earlier but they’re off now. 🙂

In the CD Player::

Adele’s 19


I read a lot last week. I finished Life of Christ, and I have to say, it was a slog. It’s long, it’s dull. There are much better books to read. Happily, Above All Things was one of them: it’s a wonderful novel about George Mallory, famous Everest fanatic, and his wife, Ruth. A great, great read. When you finish that, go read Into Thin Air. And then be glad you don’t live in the mountains. (Like, the high mountains…)


I’m working on a new piece that’s really compelling me to write it–I have no idea where it’s going to go, beyond a few set scenes. We’ll see!

Around the house::

I cleared bathroom drains this weekend. Isn’t that exciting? 🙂 I have to mop the kitchen floor and vacuum, and empty the upstairs trash.

In the kitchen::

Tonight eating out with T, but tomorrow PW mac and cheese, and then I want to try a (healthier) version of chicken-fried steak (if there is such a thing…) with mashed potatoes. I need to come up with a meal for Thursday…so I’m on the prowl. 🙂

Praying for::

Margaret and her family

The Pope

The cardinals


The getting up earlier thing IS WORKING! Yay!!!! 🙂 🙂 Fish Fry No. 2 this week on Friday.

Plans for the week::

Lunch w/ dad on Thursday and Friday; Symphony with mom and dad this weekend (my dad has never been to the Symphony. I am nice and chose a very easy program for him. We also got a steal on the tickets!)

CSO Program is:

BEETHOVEN Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58
FRAZELLE Elegy for Strings
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, Scottish

I love Beethoven and Mendelssohn, so score for me. 🙂


And, just for today: Oscar thoughts::

Glad Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress. She’s just a great, down-to-earth seeming person. Daniel Day Lewis wins again. No surprise re: Anne. Christoph apparently wins Oscars for playing bad guys: first a Nazi, and then a slave hunter. Nice! My dad saw Argo; I haven’t yet, but it’ s in the queue now.


Fun new things: Picnic with the Pops and Idina Menzel

One of the things I was super looking forward to during the Year of 30 was going to a Picnic With the Pops concert. They used to be held in a city suburb, so I’d never been able to go. But this year, they moved downtown to the new Columbus Commons, and when I saw that Idina Menzel–who guest stars on Glee and originated the roles of Maureen (Rent) and Elphaba (Wicked), I knew I had to go.

Apparently, so did about 7,000 other people. The concert drew a HUGE crowd. My sister had the day off so she was able to go with me. It was great to experience this gorgeous concert, our fantastic symphony, and the beautiful evening with her.

Some of the set list:

  • Don’t Rain On My Parade
  • Both Sides Now
  • The Wizard and I
  • For Good
  • Love for Sale/Roxanne
  • No Day But Today

One more thing checked off the life list!

Melanie pre-show

Me and Mel

Idina comes into the crowd. This was very exciting.

“Both Sides Now”

Making time

I’m taking an online class right now called “make time”, where the idea is to clear your schedule of the debris to make time for the real things you want to accomplish in life. As I’ve talked about, I want to live a life that allows me to do the things I really want to do.

Summer, for some reason, always energizes me and makes me think of things I want to do, both on a micro and macro level: things I want to accomplish this week, and also this month, this season, this year.

Some of those things are coming into play already as my summer takes shape, such as:

  • Going to a Columbus Symphony “Picnic with the Pops” concert on June 23, featuring Idina Menzel.
  • Spending a good chunk of time in Pittsburgh with my family, including my little cousins. I love all my cousins, but I really love the little ones. I seem to do well with kids under 10, and my youngest cousin has developed a special affinity for me. (He’s adorable and I love him to pieces, so it’s reciprocated.) I’m going up with my parents at the end of June, so we’ll be able to attend some church festivals, celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary and my grandma’s 82nd birthday, go to Idlewild Amusement Park (where I’ve never been, and there’s a “Thomas the Tank Engine Show” that Youngest Cousin will looooove), and probably eat some good food, shop, swim…all that good stuff.
  • Outdoor theater in Schiller Park

But I also want to make time for music, writing, reading, and, of course, the fitness stuff. I want to go to the awesome festivals that my city has during the summer, and see the Opera’s production of The Mikado, since I’ve never seen a Gilbert and Sullivan show. And this year, I want to see an opera at the Met in NYC, and take my cousin Jack to see The Phantom of the Opera, which he’s never seen. My aunt and I want to see Dan Stevens (Matthew on Downton Abbey) in his Broadway debut in November.

Right now I’m in “decompress” mode, since the show ended yesterday. I’m going to bed early (like within the hour). I made a meal plan for this week, which I haven’t been able to do lately. I love to cook and trying new recipes is something I’m looking forward to. There is yoga tomorrow, and on Wednesday. Thursday I’m going to holy hour at my parish and then having dinner with some friends I haven’t seen in awhile, thanks to the show. And then it’s Memorial Day weekend and the “official” start of summer, which also means the return of the Jane Austen re-read (I re-read her books every summer). So things like the things I’m doing this week are “micro”, where things like the opera and NYC are “macro.”

Post-yoga class at The Nest

I want to spend time with people I care about. I want to learn new music and have new experiences and explore the city I’ve lived in my entire life, so that I don’t miss anything. And I want to read great new books and cook good food! I want to take twilight swims and sit under the stars and find constellations and learn their stories. And, of course, the book proposal.

What do you want to do this summer? Or this year? How are you going to make time for it?