Soixante-dixième Jour – Écoutez, mon coeur.

Today (le 29e oct) I feel that i have a lot of thinking I need to do.  I need to figure out what my goals are and stop letting myself be led around like a pony on a leash in a corral.  There are some things I would like to do, and I think it is mostly just myself who is preventing me from trying these things.  Other people have told me “you’re not good enough” or “you can’t afford this” but that’s irrelevant isn’t it? I would think that my ability is only relevant to the panel who would listen to my audition, and the financial aspect is my own problem.  I know I am not a great flute player, but I deserve a chance to audition for something, at the very least.

I want to go play in the orchestra in Lucerne under Pierre Boulez.

I would like the chance to play with the National Youth Orchestra.

I want to be in a flute choir again.  And write music for flute choirs.

I desperately would like to play with a harpist at some point again in my life.

I want to talk Walter Thompson’s course on Sound painting in New York.

I would like to go to the Banff Arts Institute.

I need to get back into free improvisation.  I need to explore things with the flute are important to me, not just required of a good player.

Beyond music performance:

I need to voice my opinions more, especially when something is unacceptable.  I can’t sit around waiting for people, especially if they know I am waiting and I know they are taking advantage of me.

I should do more research.  Baroque and Medieval music has always been a very strong interest of mine.  There is so much I don’t know about it, and I think it’s really imperative that I learn more about it.

I need to keep learning French and German, regardless of what happens.  I haven’t lost that much of my Japanese, but I want to take it up again.  I want to learn as much Mandarin as I can.

I have to get out and go travel, by myself if necessary.

I need to get back into visual art again.  This is a huge strength of mine, that I spent a good 15-20 years devoted to almost entirely before I went to UVic, and I am not doing anything with it.

I should realize that I am very very short on money, but there are still lots of opportunities available to me, before I devote myself to a lifetime of arts management.  I need experience first.  I need drive, I need to be insulted, I need to be innovative as a modern artist and not conform to the norm. My strength is the fact that I am good at many different things: art, music performance, composition, dance, writing, improvising, researching.  For many people, they can go as far as they can with one thing, like playing the violin.  They are amazing at it.  Very few people will ever be that good.  I just dont feel I was ever cut out to be like that, and I have so many interests that to be so focused would wreck my ambition and kill my sense of creativity and happiness. I have to do many things, and I intend to do them all as well as I can.

I need to make statements, be forward, be productive.  I feel like I am in a box built by society that says, “First do this, then study that, get this degree, study with this teacher, and if you play your cards right and are lucky then ____ will happen.” That’s a load of horseshit. I think that with hard work and dedication you can make things happen for yourself, but you have to be dedicated to the long term goal, and you can’t become consumed by your wants and needs above meeting people along the way who are wonderful, valuable people. You have to keep your eyes focused on your goal, but also on what is going on around you.  Otherwise you will “pigeon-hole” yourself.  You will lose your perspective, and all you will be able to do is look back and say “I worked really hard.  I don’t remember any of it.”

I am sick of sitting around waiting for opportunities that society has impressed on me will happen “when the time is right, when you’ve achieved enough, when you’re professional enough.” I am sick of waiting around for people who lead me on to things, who tell lies. Maybe I am stupid for waiting, and maybe I am stupid for getting impatient, but I have never had this much forward motion before.



Soixante-septième Jour – Chat sur une caisse!

I have been really sick the past week, whether from fighting a bug or anxiety, or both.  In either case, this has been helping me feel better:

Today (le 26e oct) Abraham and I went for a petit brunch at the Marché Jean-Talon.  I know I talk about the Marché every other week, but it is really my favorite place in all of Montréal that I have seen so far.  Today there was a busker playing guitar while his gargantuan overly-fluffy cat hunched on an apple crate next to him.  This cat looked completely happy to just sit there in a dopey glaze, staring absentmindedly back at everyone staring at him.

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Montreal, popartichoke, Flickr 14864781579_f891a8e33e
C/o:,,,,, ,,,,

It doesn,t get any fresher and better than this! For $50 per week I can get 3 giant grocery bags full of vegetables, fruits, honey, and eggs! This week I also splurged on another interesting box of tea and some chocolate bars from Montebello, QC.


Abraham and I went for my favorite Marché breakfast: croissants stuffed with cheese and ham, mayonnaise, and mustard.  They are served warm and the flaky pastry just melts in your mouth! I also managed to find a picture of one of the buskers I have seen a few times around town: A circus performer on stilts who plays flute! He has been at the Marché before, and quite often I have seen him at the Jean-Talon Métro station, playing in one of the corridors underground.  The sound of his flute echoes through all the tunnels in a calming yet also eerie sort of way.


Soixante-et-unième Jour – Tangerine, donc, pourquoi pas?

I forgot to mention that I also went to see the “Van Gogh to Kandinsky” Exhibit at the Musée des Beaux Arts! They have a fantastic exhibit right now of the works by the Impressionist and Expressionist painters! We saw works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Paul Klee, and one of my new favorites, Christian Rohlfs.


“Stables” By Franz Marc


Théo van Rysselberghe, Plage à marée basse à Ambleteuse


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Nu allongé devant un miroir

Christian Rohlfs-984386

“Birch Trees” Christian Rohlfs


Vincent van Gogh, Saules au coucher du soleil
I have been in a real funk with my composition lately.  I have been trying everything I can think of to become inspired but I am not feeling it. One of the contributing factors to this I think, is that I absolutely despise using music software, and I need to use it for my projects at this time.
I would prefer place more importance on the visual aspects of scores.   This is an idea of scores being more like pieces of art, maybe even 4-dimensional.  I think it is far more interesting if a score presents itself as more than just dots on a page for the musician, as an indeterminate blueprint of what actually occurs when sound or motion is produced.  Even some of the scores I think are truely beautiful in a visual way, such as “Cassandra’s Dreamsong” By Brian Ferneyhough, do not accurately describe the auditory results. These scores place parameters on the minds of the players, moving them to great thinking and coordination at times, but this is in more of a mental capacity than a visual one.
Some of John Cage’s or Ligeti’s works have more visual scores. I wonder how I could take their ideas even further though, while keeping to a meaningful resulting auditory experience.  A few examples:
Ligeti - Artikulation Score 9 John-Cage-5
I am very inspired by visual composition, and maybe my problem is I feel stuck in traditional notation.  In any case I am trying to counteract my current dissatisfaction with composition by working on the accompanying sound recordings for my current project instead.  I am mixing the sounds of rain in a forest with cymbal bowings, woodwind sounds, a rave crowd, and footsteps in an attempt to create a relative sound environment for my piece.  Maybe this will lead to something.
I have also been listening to ClassicFM lately, the UK radio station.  Most of the music they play is enjoyable and not overly dripping with cheese and kitsch. Plus listening to the UK accents is just yummy. Check them out here:
Also some good sounds here:
Happy Monday!

Cinquante-neuvième Jour – Un peu vieux, beaucoup de nouveau

I have had a really wonderful week. Thor and I shared some turkey legs and fixings last Sunday (le 12e oct), for a petit “Action de Grâce” (Thanksgiving). I think everyone has something they make especially well at holidays -and I believe mine is quite possibly turkey stuffing (la farce). I don’t use bread -instead wild rice, and I mix it with sausages, bacon, dried cranberries, apples, chicken broth, vegetables, and spices. It turned out so well this year!

The bénéfice (benefit) concert took place on Wednesday night (le 15e oct), to raise scholarship money for students of the Conservatoire. Jonathan and I co-wrote a piece that was performed on the rez-de-chausée (ground floor) as the guests of the evening walked from the “salle de concert” (Concert Hall) to a cocktail reception at the far end of the building. It was a fun project to work on, and I got to meet a few more people at the school.

My friend also came to visit for a few days! We ate at least 6 pounds of smoked meat from Schwartz’s, Le Charcuterie Hebraïque, qui sert la meilleure viande fumée (Hebrew Delicatessen who serves the best smoked meat)! They serve it to you fat, medium, or lean (fat is best!) in a sandwich with mustard. It tastes amazing with a side of pickles and a can of Black Cherry Cola.

We also went to a couple of really fantastic breweries with some of my friends here.
Dieu de ciel
-I LOVE the Rigor mortis beer (a Belgian-style brown ale)! They also had a cidre rosé (rose cider) that was to die for!

Cheval Blanc
I really liked the layout and ambience of this brewery! Lots of mirrors and a long bar, quite inducing of conversation with your neighbours.
I tried the “Blanche” (a German weizen beer) and tried the “Framboozen” (a raspberry ale). Both were very good!

We also paid a visit to Les Trois Brasseurs, and L’Amère À Boire again.

On Thursday night (le 16e oct) we went to see a Canadiens hockey game at the Centre Bell. They played the Boston Bruins and won 6-4. What an awesome game! It featured a laser lights show, an introductory spectacle of projections of the hockey players and their countries of origin on the ice, Ken Dryden passing off the torch to Cary Price, and an amazing rendition of the Canadian anthem by Quebec icon, Ginette Rino. I had a great seat, and could see everything. I thoroughly enjoyed my first live NHL game, and I can’t wait to see more! It is a way more exciting experience than just watching the games on TV.

I also got some excellent poutine today (le 18e oct) before he caught his plane back to Vancouver. We went to Vieux Montréal, the old city quarter, to pay a visit to the restaurant “Montréal Poutine.” I had a poutine with Italian sausages, and my friend had one with smoked meat.
I really like this part of the city, even if it is mostly for the tourists. I liked the older-style architecture and the stark contrast of the grey buildings and overcast sky with all the Autumn colours. It was also such a relief to see the Saint Lawrence river – I haven’t seen such a large body of water since I moved here, and it made me ridiculously homesick for the Pacific Ocean.




Afterwards we went to Archambault, the Quebec music store. What an amazing place! They have musical instruments, musical reading literature, music scores, CDs, vinyl, EVERYTHING!!!! I was so impressed and will definitely be returning there in the future!

And so my friend’s visit drew to a close, and I need to pull out my German books and start studying for my midterm on Wednesday! Also I started re-watching the television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I always get in the mood for these “émissions fantastique” (Supernatural telelvision shows). I just finished watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and I think Charmed will be next. But for now, a little dose of 1990s vampires!
I also bought my ticket to see Rocky Horror Hallowe’en Ball on October 31st! I will be going with my friends Maxime and Véronique; I can’t wait!

Now I am off to cook a pumpkin so I can make some more pumpkin pancakes. I have to work off this “smoked meat and beer” belly I put on in the last few days!

Cinquantième Jour – Stress stress stress

It is almost reading break! Thank goodness! Maybe I will finally get my sleep schedule back on track. Things have been chaotic lately.

Last Sunday, Oct 5, Thor and I went for lunch at Lola Rosa for some curry and squash quiche. Very tasty! We passed this interesting scene of baguettes on our way there:
I guess that is one way to give away free food….

I finally back to practicing two hours a day, and hopefully 3 hours a day by November. I can feel my hands starting to work again and the muscles coming back in my face. I had my first septet rehearsal for the Donizetti “Sinfonia” on Tuesday, Oct 7. It was great! Definitely I am still rough around the edges, but it felt so good to play with a group of people again!

I have been so busy writing my composition, analyzing a music score, and studying for my history test I can’t see straight. I think I spent at least 16 hours studying for this history test today (Oct 9), and honestly I don’t know if I passed it. I think partly it is because the topics are so broad (history of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Cave paintings, Greek Gods). Huge topics! Plus I feel there were some points I missed in class, since all the information is in the lectures (there are no handouts or text books). Despite all the time I put into studying and looking everything up, I felt that I either forgot half the French words on the spot, didn’t find that information in all my studying, or got really confused between the French and English in my brain. I noticed some really large differences between some of the information in French and English research on the same subjects -in Egyptian history, the names are all entirely different, as are the names of places, and in general even some of the dates are different (a different counting system is used to keep track of time in some cases). So… I did the best I could but I really hope I didn’t fail the test. It has also been quite a long time since I have taken anything resembling and exam. At least I am sure I won’t get zero marks, and there is still the essay to write (actually incredibly excited about this! I love writing history papers!) and the final exam. Now that I have a better idea of this teacher’s test format and what sort of questions he will ask, I can study better. Still, keeping my fingers crossed for a passing grade on this midterm!

I am overjoyed -one more class until my reading break starts! Tomorrow I am going to sleep until my throat stops hurting and I can get out of bed without coffee. I need to go to the Marché Jean-Talon again, practice some more Taffanel and Gaubert exercises, and write this composition for the benefit night next Wednesday. I am so happy I feel like I am finally starting to adjust back to student life. It certainly is a weird transition from working to being a student and vice versa.

Bonne fin de semaine!

Quarante-cinquième Jour – Il ya quelque chose chez moi

I can’t believe it is already just a week in advance of Thanksgiving. That was fast! We are entering my favorite period of the year: the lead up to Hallowe’en and then Christmas. January 2nd to Mother’s Day is the most boring part of the year in my opinion (with the exception of Valentine’s Day if you are a florist or chocolatier). But I love the time between October 1st and January 1st! The seasonal foods right now are many of my favorites as well: everything apple, pumpkin, pear, and pomegranate-oriented. I am making lots of pumpkin pancakes (sans farine pis sucre -without sugar or flour), drinking lots of coffee with a homemade pumpkin spice mixture, and baking lots and lots of apples.
I also always get excited when the first of the month rolls around because it means I change up my pilates routine. I practice the same stretches and moves for about a month, then switch it up to focus on different muscles for the next month. It is nice to get back into pilates again after taking about 6 months off from it. I have a noticeable difference in the amount of pain in my back since starting pilates again about 3 weeks ago. (far less pain! I had a bad car accident 7 years ago that left me with some lasting stiffness and I tend to get pain now if I don’t do some physical activity every day)

I leave you with my pumpkin pancake recipe. They are fantastic. You can also double the recipe and put the batter in muffin cups or a pie dish to make a “crust-less pie.”

5 heaping spoonfuls pureed pumpkin
1-2 eggs (2 eggs will yield a more well-formed and more aesthetically attractive pancake)
2 tsp mix of ground flax seeds and chia seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1.5 tbsp protein powder (optional)
1-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional -for those days you NEED chocolate!)
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional -I don’t sweeten the pancake, I prefer them savory)

Cook in coconut oil in a frying pan, or Bake in muffin cups or pie dish at 350 F for approx 30-40 minutes.
I usually top them with fresh pomegranate seeds or sliced pears. You can use maple syrup but I like these not very sweet.

I also have a very big sleeping problem now: I can’t seem to get to sleep before 4am every night, and I don’t want to take any supplements or pills to solve this problem. I think I am kind of stressed, and that is causing me to dwell on things and night and I am unable to sleep. I literally don’t even feel tired until 3 or 4 in the morning, and I am still getting up around 8am. i hope I am not turning into the musician, Aphex Twin. (he purposefully only slept 2 hours a night to induce near-death hallucinations for writing music)

I managed to do very little today, sadly. (4 oct) I went to the Jean-Talon Marché, and the health food store Rachelle-Berry. I love this health food store. I found a tea there today that is exquisite! Chocolate + earl grey = I have a small explosion of happiness

It also rained almost all day, and I had to change coats twice because I got soaked outside. Tomorrow I need to focus to get my work done, although hopefully there will also be time to grab a quick lunch with Thor. -and I need to practice flute!

In light of the fact it is now October I leave you with this:

Joyeux octobre!

Quarante-deuxième Jour : Les trottoirs sont couverts de feuilles

Today brings good news! (le 1ière d’octobre)

The conservatories (hopefully) will not be closed! The Minister of Education is quoted as saying they will all remain open. Hopefully this is indeed true!

Also I finally have a chance to play in an ensemble again! Only one piece, but much better than nothing! It’s very stimulating to have this kind of pressure again, I love it. However, after not playing with anyone else for close to two years, I feel a bit rusty… but I also feel like flute needs to have a lot more presence in my life again. At this point I honestly don’t care if I am the worst musician, I just want to play. I think my goal is to play through as many etude and technique books as possible in the next 7 months, and add my orchestral excerpts back in after that.

Also in other news, The Flower Factory, my work in Vancouver, is featured in this month’s edition of Canadian Florist!

Read the article here:

Today German was fun, but I felt like my brain wasn’t quite in the right place. I couldn’t follow instructions on the handouts and I just generally felt like I had static radio in my head. But at least speaking German makes the French seem far less daunting. I am not at the stage yet where I would watch many movies in German, beyond Soul Kitchen or Der Himmel Über Berlin. (Both amazing films, please watch!)

And the trailer for Der Himmel Uber Berlin:

Tomorrow is art history, another flute practice, possibly a session of Open Music computer software (but I am really confused by the class schedule for this… it doesnt seem to occur every week, or maybe it only happened once?) and a concert in the evening by the Bozzini String Quartet chez Maison de Jeunesse Musicales, featuring compositions by Jürg Frey. Should be exciting!