The most beautiful sound in the world
You probably don't know this about me, but I listen to classical music almost exclusively.
A few days ago, driving in to work, I turned on my local public radio station. They've been playing some great music lately, Christmas carols from around the world from centuries ago.
At the moment I turned the radio on, I heard the most wonderful song. It was just so lovely. I cranked the radio as I sailed down the windy back roads filled with New England's scenic beauty: stately Colonial homes, open bodies of water filled with swans and geese, and towering pines.
This music brought me to tears, and at the end, I waited to hear the DJ identify this piece of music. After she did, I realized 2 things:
1. I had heard this music before. But somehow, its magic never enthralled me the way it did that day, and
2. I had what I'm not sure I can is a memory, because I'm not positive it really happened, but it reminded me of when I was a child standing in church and listening to the choir sing during Christmas Day services. My mother sang in the church choir, and in fact that is how she met her 2nd husband, who was the organist and choir director.
(And this is why I am hooked on classical music: my stepfather, who taught classical piano at NYU, would always play classical music and opera, which at the time, being a rock and roll-loving teenager coming of age in the 1970s, I hated.)
I believe this was one of the songs I heard my mother sing on Christmas Day so many years ago. Not an easy piece to sing but certainly a worthy choice.
The song is Unto Us a Child is Born, from Handel's Messiah. If you'd like to listen to it here, I found a You Tube video of it being sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choice.
I just love this Baroque masterpiece. I had to go and find the lyrics as well. It sounds funny, coming from an atheist, but it even made me think about going to church this Sunday.
Christmas still feels so bittersweet to me, as the 2-year anniversary of my mother's death is coming up next week. My mother loved this kind of music, and now I have a new appreciation for it myself.
She had an extensive classical music CD collection, and I regret donating nearly all of it to my library for their annual sale. At the time I just felt completely overwhelmed by decisions on what to keep, or how to dispose of her stuff. The CDs were one thing I gave away because I rarely have time in my life to play a CD; I usually just turn the radio on.
The office Christmas party
Last night I experienced the office Christmas party where I work.
Every company is different and chooses to celebrate in a different way: Secret Santa gift exchanges, the giving of bonuses, big dinners, little dinners, with or without one's significant other.
This one was a really great dinner at an Italian restaurant in SoNo, a trendy neighborhood in a small Connecticut city known for its pubs, restaurants and night life.
They rented a small bus to take people there and back so they wouldn't have to drive. There were about 16 of us.A few of us, including myself, drove themselves because based on where they lived, it would be easier to just head directly home from the restaurant.
There were about 18 of us, including some people I hadn't met before because they work remotely. Including the one guy who made such a terrible first impression on me when he ranted and raved and was terribly upset during a conference call on speaker phone after I'd made extensive edits to his piece. He didn't think we'd have time to make all the edits and just carried on in the most unprofessional manner. I attempted to explain as diplomatically as possible that I was just trying to make the piece as polished and professional as possible, becus truth be told, although this guy's a PhD, his writing is pretty bad.
The people at the office all rolled their eyes and said that's XXX just being XXX, he can't handle stress, and also explained to me that when I met him (he took the train up to CT from Brooklyn), that I'd see he was the most introverted man around.
I was so surprised to find he was a fairly attractive man around my age and yes, he seemed a little ill at ease in the din of our conversations (like me).
I didn't get home from the party til about 11:30 pm, and I didn't go to bed until 1 am becus I was so wired. And because I was still thinking about Handel's Messiah.
Earlier that day, back at the office, B., the 26-year-old, 6'4" "operations manager" (a fancy title for someone who runs to get us coffees and is at the owner's beck and call) went on and on about how each year at the Xmas party, he does a "roast," excoriating each employee one by one in great detail, and that he keeps notes all year long so he has good material to embarrass people with. He said J., my manager, didn't speak to him for 2 weeks after what B. said about him. He indicated he would have things to say about me and to J., who both share B.'s work space just outside the owner's office.
I was starting to feel nervous about what he'd come up with for me, in front of people I've only recently met. J. and I. actually tried to warn B. not to be too harsh and questioning the wisdom of making fools of people you work with when you want to become more of a close-knit team.
When we got to the dinner, I wondered when the roast would start. It never did. The entire story was just a yarn B. spun because he is a rather snarky Millennial with a wicked sense of humor.
J. and I agreed we must get back at him. I was thinking of calling B. when we return to work next Wednesday, feigning a flat tire and begging him to drive out to help me. When he did so, I would sneak to the office via another route and I would be nowhere to be found when he arrived, and then we'd have a good laugh at his expense when he returned to the office.
Today's a day for last minute shopping, wrapping of presents and buying ingredients for a pie I'll be making to take down with me to Jersey Xmas day.
Coming up for air
The most beautiful sound in the world