Our director last night was pointing out the brilliance of Brahms. Brahms is of course one of the big guys, but I’ve never really been a fan. I wasn’t wild about this piece that we’re doing, either — I bought the CD, but didn’t really enjoy it. Having all the really clever things he did as a composer pointed out helps some.

But then the director asked, as he analyzed the piece, what key we were in. I looked at the key signature, and tried to remember the rule for deciphering it, but people called out “F” and then “D flat” and then “F” again. The key signature hadn’t changed. I searched in vain for some clue. The A sections were in F and the B sections in D flat, and then — oh, clever Brahms — there was a C section, with a modulation echoing the original motif!

This sort of thing just serves to show how little I know. However, I do have a practice CD now, so I’ll be singing the right stuff even if I’m not appreciating it fully.

I’m also caught up. I was, you may recall, working on fifteen websites, which is a lot. I haven’t finished with all of them, but I’ve turned in a draft for each, so I feel caught up. I also completed the editing for an online magazine I’m working with. They’re doing the annual Green issue — environmental topics — and I enjoyed reading through all the different perspectives. There was one article which took it as a given that environmentalists were pagans, and probably Wiccans. This includes Al Gore. While I was essentially just checking everyone’s punctuation, I did suggest that this author might want to offer some support, or else back off a bit. It’s one thing to write an article claiming that people who are concerned about the environment are pagans, and quite another just to assume it and write your article around that assumption. “While environmentalists are pagans,” this article was explaining, “you can be careful about your energy consumption without falling into that trap, and here’s how.”

The part about Al Gore and Wicca came later. There was archaeology involved.

I also got to start reading the Amazon Breakout Novel Award entries. I’m sworn to secrecy on that, I’m afraid, so I can’t tell you any of the exciting stuff there.

And today is Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday. A woman at rehearsal last night was telling me that she’s going to give up broccoli cheddar soup for Lent.  I’m thinking about giving up sweets. I normally don’t consider doing so, since my birthday is always during Lent. I wouldn’t want to be forbidden to have birthday cake. However, our pastor says that Sundays are “little Easters” and I could therefore eat birthday cake as long as I did so on a Sunday.

The point of the Lenten sacrifice, for Protestants, is to be reminded of the things you’re supposed to contemplate during Lent. Every time you just naturally reach for that bowl of broccoli soup, you’re reminded. This is why broccoli soup totally wouldn’t work for me — it just isn’t part of my daily routine. Last year I gave up novels. I have in the past given up tea, critical thoughts, and complaining.

However, some people take things up instead. I am taking up a study, along with my friend CD, of the Life@Work GroupZines. I read through them, but I didn’t give serious study and contemplation to the points they make, or do all the exercises and questions and stuff. So I think that will be good.

I have no Mardi Gras festivities planned, though I will be making pancakes for breakfast. I’m meeting a friend and prospective client for coffee and talk this morning, and I have a good amount of work to do. I may listen to Brahms, attempting to appreciate his genius.