The Writer’s Almanac, my new favorite source of blog material, tells us that today is the birthday of Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart in 1751, Wolfgang’s older sister. She was a child prodigy on the harpsichord and clavier and when she and her brother toured together as children, she often received top billing. She composed, too–Wikipedia tells us “there are letters from her brother praising her work”–but nothing she wrote survives. After she reached her teens, her parents didn’t allow her to tour, she stopped performing and probably composing, and she ended up getting married, raising a family, and giving piano lessons.
The whole story reminds me of Virginia Woolf’s idea of “Shakespeare’s sister” in A Room of One’s Own–that even if Shakespeare had had a sister just as talented, she could have done nothing to develop it in the 16th century (or the 18th, apparently), because “she would have been so thwarted and hindered by other people [and] tortured and pulled asunder by her own contrary instincts.” (The whole chapter is here.)
I certainly don’t have the feminist or musical insight any more to make a point other than, “What a shame,” but at least we’re remembering her birthday.
I decided to revisit the cotton knitted bag pattern that turned out too small to hold anything except a tomato, and the result is I overcompensated, ran out of yarn, used up some odds and ends to finish, and ended up with a bag that’s big enough for a watermelon and looks like a sock monkey*:
The bag stretches a lot; it could probably hold TWO watermelons. But it’s useful and it’s finished. I’m so tired of knitting with cotton, though–it’s time to break out wool and start planning fall projects.
*Monsieur Le Singe, Guiseppi Tomasi, was something I made in high school. Because I was cool like that in high school.
1. Werner Herzog, the crazy German filmmaker I studied in a college film class, has made a film about McMurdo station in Antarctica. My uncle is returning for another six months in McMurdo in August, so it would be cool to see what a crazy German filmmaker has to say about it in Encounters at the End of the World. The Salt Lake Tribune review can be read here.
2. My latest favorite TV-on-DVD show is Mad Men, which has yet to make me feel angry or used the way Battlestar Galactic did. I started watching it for the costumes and to see how it compared with agency life today, and now I can’t get enough. Season 2 starts Sunday.
3. I somehow ended up reading about what you should have in a chicken first aid kit and a story about raccoons trying to kidnap Tickle Me Elmo online this week. I love the internet!
In the middle of one night we were awakened to the sound of Tickle Me Elmo laughing his little head off. Upon investigating we found Elmo stuck in the cat door unable to stop laughing and vibrating. The raccoons had abandoned him when they couldn’t squeeze him through the door.
Because it’s the birthday of Amelia Earhart and Zelda Fitzgerald and my friend Tiffin. It’s also a day after the birthday of Raymond Chandler, the best detective novelist ever, and a day after the birth of a yet-to-be-named cria at Blue Moon Ranch (I’d call him Nero):
It was also pretty special to go four blocks out of my way on my ride in this morning to avoid the crowds of pioneers.
I’ve finally stopped complaining how far behind and puny my garden is, because you can’t really do that if the tomato plants are as tall as you. The ripening is still a little behind schedule, but at least the plants look healthy, if not completely out of control.
You are awesome and I’m sorry I didn’t realize it until the concert last night. I knew you sang backup for some good Neil Young albums and I remember seeing you in Heart of Gold recently and thinking, “Whoa, plastic surgery!” But I really didn’t know what you sounded like on your own, and I have been missing out. I’m going to go find “Orphan Girl” on iTunes now.
Also, your dress and boots were great.
PS: I really shouldn’t have taken your advice from the encore: “Two More Bottles of Wine.”
1. Wednesday I made my best riding time to and from work so far: 12 minutes to get there and only 20 minutes to get home. Now I’m pretending I’m competing for the maillot vert!
2. Wednesday also marked the 63rd anniverasary of the first nuclear bomb test in Los Alamos. I’ve known that Oppenheimer said, famously, “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds” but I didn’t know that he was quoting from the Baghavad Gita:
“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”
Something else I didn’t know: That Kenneth Bainbridge, the site director of the test, retorted, “Now we are all sons-of-bitches.”