February 14, 2005
There are many things that I like about Pilates, not least of which is that it is so retro. Contrology is what Joseph Pilates called it. The equipment is rather Rube Goldberg, improvised originally from bed springs and the like, and the effect something between physiotherapy and S&M. A great story! This photograph was taken in his Greenwich Village Studio in the 1950s. Dancers continue to favor Pilates for stretching and lengthening muscles.
It's winter, cold and grey, a time to be indoors. Writing all day. At my desk. Pilates around the corner at re:ab and the Royal Canadian Airforce XBX Plan for Physical Fitness at home. I had a copy of this workout years ago but have no idea where it is, so I squirreled around until I found a copy online. W.A. Orr wrote the original plan for men and Norman Ashton the version for women. The program was picked up elsewhere and there is even a New Zealand edition. Though the Canadian airforce apparently abandoned the exercise plan in the 1970s, it is enjoying a comeback among fitness and weight loss seekers. There is even a Palm version! And, the pamphlet was reprinted in 2004, with earlier editions selling for $100.
October 20, 2004
Tuning the piano
Eugenie, the piano tuner, was here today and took the piano apart. It is a Nordheimer piano, made in Toronto, and from the serial number she found, 18836, we determined that it must have been made around 1913. She even found the original bits of silk inside the action. She says the piano was rebuilt, the soundboard carefully repaired with dowels, and the hammers are virtually new. We have some serious vacuuming and dusting to do. She'll be back on Monday to do more work on it so it is in playing form, though if truth be told, it actually needs even more work than that. It will do for now. A. & S. Nordheimer Co. was established in the early 1840s in what is now Ontario and is considered "the oldest brand name in use in Canadian music."
Originally booked the tuner in anticipation of having musical colleagues gather to honor Sharman, but opted for a quiet evening with her on our own. Thought of cancelling. It is all about my ambivalence about my classical music training for all those many years. The piano marks a place. Annie found it for me. We had it shipped from Toronto to New York. Eugenie says I should take three lessons with someone who would free me up, help me exorcise the demons of the restrictions of my classical past--technique and interpretation, without composition or improvisation or ensemble playing--in a word, without all the fun that klezmer bands are having.
October 06, 2004
The Levenger's catalogue arrived in the mail yesterday. Perfect bedside reading. Fantasies of an overwrought home office. I did order a wonderful editor's desk and footrest and bedside lamp from them years ago to celebrate a major cleanup. Ah, the thought of everything lined, covered, or bound in leather, made of wood, encased or boxed or wrapped, with excruciating attention to detail. Feels like the way to furnish the interior of a retired lawyer in Connecticut. So precious.