Moises y Martha

22 July 2009

We just finished a wonderful one week visit from Lulú’s dad and his wife. They got to see where Lulú goes to school, her studio, her paintings, where I work. A highlight for me was watching Martha’s face when I sat her down in the stereo spot in my studio and started playing back the end of a Don Giovanni recording I’d worked on.

Lulú took them to the AGO and the Gardiner and many other places while I was at work.

We ate at Chopin and had a great treat when a mother and son walked in for tea with friends and each took a turn on the piano. We ate lots of ice cream thanks to Moises: Film Buff on Roncessvalles, Sicilian ice cream on College, Greg’s Ice Cream on Bloor at Spadina.

We bought some headphones at Bay Bloor Radio for Moises so he can better enjoy his music.

We took a little trip out of town to Rattle Snake Point. Moises climbed up on a pile of rocks to have his picture taken.

We took lots of pictures.

We had Olivia and Sandy over for dinner and enjoyed some great laughs.

We really enjoyed spending time with each other. Super happy that they were able to make the trip and feeling super lucky that they flew in just ahead of the Harper government’s idiotic and without warning demand for visas for Mexicans.


Summer Guests

27 May 2009

Lulú was just video chatting with her dad. They’ve just bought their plane tickets and are very excited. They will spend a week with us in July. We’re also very much looking forward to their visit.

It will be his first time in Toronto since he was 18! Toronto was the first city he visited outside of Mexico.


25 April 2009

Ithzak, of course.

Some friends laid some really great tickets on us for a concert tonight . We’re just home from hearing Ithzak Perlman perform the Beethoven Concerto with Peter Oundjian (a former violinist) and the TSO.

At first I was a bit worried. I thought the old boy had lost something. He was consistently flat. I thought I’d better focus on something else. At least the sound he produced was incredible.

But by half way through the first movement he found is groove and was flying. The cadenza was extraordinary. I swear I could hear the entire orchestra in places. It struck me that he would have been fantastic as a jazz player. (I just noticed in wikipedia he recorded a jazz album with Oscar Peterson! Gotta check that out.)

I won’t go on except to say that somewhere in the middle of the third movement soloist and orchestra produced a most beautifully happy sound that put an enormous smile on my face. We were half way home on the street car before that smile began to fade.

We are so lucky to have heard him.

Films About Artists

2 March 2009

This past weekend Lulú and I attended three films at the Canadian Art Film Festival.

  • Yves Klein: The Blue Revolution
  • Antony Gormley: Making Space
  • Wide Details: On the Traces of Francis Alÿs

    Lulú really liked the Klein. He was too much of a publicity seeker for me although I agree his work was sometimes interesting. Lulú says his personality is one thing, but he created poetry. Gormley’s done some amazing pieces but as Lulú pointed out the film was about the artist much more than it was about his work. She didn’t like it so much because it wasn’t so much in synch with with him. We both agree that the Alÿs film was the most in sync with the artist.

    I love being with an artist. Stretches boundaries, opens windows.

  • Films

    30 January 2009

    LulĂș and I saw Milk this evening and really enjoyed it.

    Earlier this week we rented Man on Wire. Incredible. You know it happened, you watch it happen and still . . . you can’t believe it happened. “Impossible!”

    Into the Mystic

    28 January 2009

    I’m listening to a cover of this Van Morrison song on Rich’s Radio 2 Drive. And it’s good. Often you hear cover versions and they make you wince, particularly when the songs are by people of Van’s stature. Aha, it was Colin James. I missed the saxaphone foghorn but . . . nice.

    I’ve been home all week with a cold. I probably could have made it into work today but LulĂș’s grounded me. She knows better how to take care of a body.

    Last weekend I travelled to Montreal to start teaching my courses at McGill. Half way through the first day my throat was scratching. I thought it was from talking too much. Nope.

    Got to have lunch with Cait and dinner with both Geoff and Cait.

    Have a really great bunch of keeners this year. I like teaching.

    It’s snowing right now. A lot. We’re getting a lot this year. I love it.

    Blackout, but not chez nous

    16 January 2009

    CBC: Much of Toronto’s west end in darkness after power outage

    I was on my way home from recording a concert his evening. Got off the subway at St. George to find a lot of people on the platform, many more than usual for midnight. Several trains came from the east and turned back dumping more people out on the platform.

    I finally decided to take the subway back down to Dundas and bring the streetcar home. As we crossed Spadina the normal city disappeared and there was blackness. Everywhere. For a long time. It was weird. No street lights, no traffic lights. It’s not normal for a city this size.

    Still black when we got to Bloor. But I’d called Lulú to let her know I’d be late and she hadn’t said anything about the power. When I got off the streetcar I saw that the power was on around our house.

    “Power was knocked out in the grid extending from Queen Street to St. Clair Avenue and Spadina Avenue to Jane Street.”

    So I can’t explain why we’re in a zone with power. But I’m feeling pretty lucky.

    Mine Eyes

    2 January 2009

    What is that song? “Mine eyes have seen, I can not ?” And then something about “I have not brought my specs with me”. I can hear the melody in my head but can not remember the words. It’s something I sang in elementary school. I don’t think I’ve heard it since.

    Anyway, the phrase leapt to mind as I was reading a web page with smallish type. I’ve been in denial for too long. I need glasses.

    In the meantime, if you are on a Mac and need to increase the font size of a web page, just hold down the Apple key and hit the key with the plus sign on it (its actually the = sign key). This also works in and probably a bunch of other applications as well.

    And Apple plus the – (minus) sign with reduce the font size.

    2008 Highlights

    1 January 2009

    I won’t remember and couldn’t possibly list them all but . . .

    Number 1 for sure took place in May. The European AES convention was in Amsterdam this year. I always want to take Lulú with me to conventions but there are practical considerations . . . ie, money. But I had extra motivation this year. Caitlyn was in Paris for the winter term studying at “Science Po“. Completely coincidently Lulú’s daughter Jimena was in Paris for a few weeks visiting her boyfriend.


    I had to see if it was possible and in the end it was, of course, a no-brainer. When would we be together in Paris with our two daughters again? How often does an opportunity, a situation like this come up?

    We visited museums and walked the streets but mostly we just hung out together. Pure joy. I look at the photos and see blissed-out smiles.

    Other highlights (I’ll not assign numbers now)

    • Watching Lulú’s pure joy and excitement with the opportunity to study art formally for the first time in her life. She’s obviously already an artist with her own voice but she’s self-taught and this experience has been wonderful.

    • Watching Olivia return to some semblance of herself with the move to high school. It’s been awkward looking as though you are 6 years older than you really are. People’s expectations are such that she doesn’t get much of a chance to be 13. She’s talking more this year. And I expect in another year or so she’ll be just as vivacious and self-assured as when she was a child.

    • Driving home from our trip to Nova Scotia (more highlights here) but this time with Caitlyn in tow. She’d flown back from Europe to Halifax so she could visit her great-grandmothers and other relatives in NS. Cait kept the four of us (Olivia was on board of course) laughing all the time. What a delightful, level-headed, self-assured, capable . . . and witty young woman she has grown up to be.

    • Work has certainly had its ups and downs. I’m feeling very fortunate that I’ve been so much involved in what I see as being the up side. In terms of technological developments and new ways of reaching audiences, it’s a very exciting time.

    • Being re-elected VP of the AES. It truly is an honour and has been an incredible learning experience.

    • A whole lot of little technical breakthroughs. I’m such a geek sometimes. I’ll bang my head against a problem with a database or a little script for days and when I finally get the result I want I’m nearly euphoric. Lulú can not begin to fathom it but she enjoys my joy.

    • Making a connection with the very cool guys at SlimDevices and scoring a SqueezeBox.

    • Travel. I love to travel and between various work things and the AES I got to do a lot of it. Back and forth to Montreal over a half dozen times. Winterpeg (which truly lived up to its nickname). Amsterdam and Paris. Edmonton and Banff. Toronto to NS and many points in between via car. Baltimore. San Francisco and Vancouver.

    • Music. I’ll mention just a few here. Discovering Mark Berubé, Courtney Wing (what is going on in Montreal?), Kyrie Kristmanson. Being blown away by Steven Page’s performance with Art Of Time Ensemble. The CoC.

    • The Concertgebouw really needs a romantic-sized orchestra to do it justice but even hearing a chamber orchestra there can provide moments of ecstasy. I’ve been to Amsterdam three times now and have heard four concerts in this hall. This time I got to share the experience with Lulú. I can’t remember if it was the Corelli or the Boccherini but I remember I raised my eyes to heaven in awe of just how beautiful sound can be.

    • Spending two days just being with Lulú before she went to Mexico. Absolute bliss. It was a fantastic full stop to our “go go” lives and a chance to acknowledge again this amazing love and how incredibly lucky we are to have found each other.

    Happy New Year!

    The Last Minute . . .

    31 December 2008

    . . . is the only minute. That’s the joke Lulú and I have, since it seems to be the way we do so many things.

    Here I am at the last minute wanting to make a final post for 2008. In fact I really wanted to do a year-end look back on highlights. But I’m afraid I won’t get it done before the year ticks over so I thought I’d post this now.

    The love of my life is in Mexico visiting family, friends and su gente (her people). I’m in TO. Last year we were apart for seven weeks. Way too long. This year it’s 3.5 weeks. Better, but it still sucks.

    The plan for next year is that we’ll both be in Mexico.

    The girls are with their mom. They were here for Christmas dinner on the 24th, as were Geoff & Manijeh and Sandy. A good time.

    G&M were here for a few days. We had fun and they saved me from my loneliness.

    I spent part of the evening at work. Half working, half doing things I’ve been putting off for too long. Then I walked up to Queen Street and over to City Hall. Note to self: two years from now (note that next year is Mexico) let’s plan on skating in the new year at City Hall. Lots of people, lots of lights and lots of happy faces. Skating in Toronto is a particular joy. Most of the faces you see are clearly not those of the original European settlers of this land. And they just shine. It’s beautiful.

    Earlier I video chatted with dad and then listened to Radio 1 from Saint John’s as they switched over to 2009 in their time zone.

    I’m having a late bite, drinking a particularly fine beer – one of the dozen different brands Sandy lavished on me again this Christmas – and listening to Laurie Brown on The Signal (my favourite radio show) bring in the new year.

    Signing off now to try to recall the highlights of 2008. One of the best reasons to have a blog is to help remind you of all the things you’ve been up to. I blew it this year. Perhaps I’ll write here more next year.