Saturday, February 18, 2006


Looking for a cat

We've started looking for a kitten. Even though our winter will last quite some time yet, the end is in sight. We had decided to wait till spring to get a cat, but whatever. Not many kittens this time of year, though. I guess the cats don't go out a lot when it's cold. The local animal pound said kittens start showing up in a month or so.

Y heard one ad on the radio, so we went to check them out this morning. As soon as we pulled up, a big pit bull (year old) puppy came bounding out the door. Consequently I wasn't surprised that the three kittens were quite wild when they brought them out show us. The mother cat came flying around the corner with all claws out - no doubt she's been busy trying to protect her brood from that oversized floppy dog that just wanted to play with anything that moves.

At first we weren't sure how you were supposed to figure out the gender of kittens, so I googled it and quickly learned everything you'd ever want to know about gendering a cat, including lots of detailed pix. Y had decided she wants a female, with short hair (less hair to vacuum) and gentle. The three kittens we saw were all male, had medium to long hair, and were wild. Thankfully Y told the guy "no thanks".

We'll keep looking.

After a normal 2 hour session this morning (where I steadily made progress on the four new pieces), I played the cello an extra hour and a half this evening... lights off, no score or formal lesson plan. I just played whatever came into my head. Sometimes I worked on bowing and rhythms and sometimes on fingering. I spent a lot of time trying to "find" the best second and third finger sounds. I was surprised that my right hand seemed to "know" where to go more often than not, and I was easily getting my first and fourth fingers on the proper tones. While I was sounding the second and third fingers on each string, I bowed slowly, concentrating on the hand position as well as using the whole bow with the proper elbow/pivot action. I picked out a few more basic songs - "Red River Valley," "Onward Christian Soldiers". I worked a lot on the C major scale - both octaves. Then some arpeggios on the upper octave. I played the fingerings over and over and over again till they felt "right".

It seems to help to do this every week or so. It's like I need to unlock and loosen up. I find that even with the lights off, I'm playing with my eyes closed. I've had less trouble keeping the bow at the right point on the strings. But doing it in the dark forces me to pay extra attention to how the bow feels.

I can't wait to try this with my new cello!

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