Welcome to Renate's Baton. This blog is mostly for and about my choir, The York Region Community Choir.

But, While I'm holding the baton, I'm in charge. So, if I want to talk about other parts of my life, I will. :)

The choir itself is a community and I'm discovering that we have a lot in common with one another besides our love of music and singing.

When I go off on a tangent, there is always a crowd coming along. Join us!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Concerts

Last night Soraya, Victoria, and I went to a free outdoor concert at the East Gwillimbury Civic Centre (Leslie and Mt. Albert Rd). The band was Fleetwood Mix, a Fleetwood Mac cover band. I had forgotten what good music Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks made! Fleetwood Mix was a group of 5 excellent performers. They put on a very professional, passionate, fun show. We loved it! And, it was outdoors and free. Summer at its best.

This past Sunday, we enjoyed the free concert at Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket. We hope to manage some more of the Newmarket Music in the Park concerts.

Every Saturday there's music at Riverwalk Commons during the Farmer's Market and we've listened to some fantastic musicians there.

You can go to YorkScene.com to find all kinds of things to do and they've got a page for all musical events. Here are a few links that you might want to go straight to:

 Newmarket's Music in the Park: free concerts every Wednesday and Sunday
E.G.'s Music at Civic Square: concerts every other Tuesday.
Unionville hosts the Markham Concert Band on Sunday nights

We will just keep our lawn chairs, blankets, and bug spray in the car like our old soccer days.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I love swimming

I've had a few wonderful days at the beach so far this summer. It's been incredibly hot and humid, and swimming in a lake is the best way to keep cool. On our camping trip, we went to the beach at Port Burwell- at the town beach and the provincial park beach- and at Port Stanley on Lake Erie. Port Stanley was super! The town is charming and the beach was big and the sand was nice and clean. Closer to home, we enjoyed the clear waters of Lake Simcoe at Willow Beach. It's only half an hour away. Going to the beach reminded me that I love swimming! I love to be in the water. The best way to be in the water is in a lake with a beautiful blue sky above and clear blue water below, but swimming in a pool is great too. So, I've started to swim some lengths at the Magna Pool, and I'm feeling great!

Reading List: Long list for the Man Booker Prize Announced

The long list for the Man Booker Prize was just announced. There's the list below. Apparently, not all of these are available yet. And, I guess the library won't have them all. But, I like having a list like this, even if I don't read many of them.

I also like looking at what the Bookerellas at church are reading. I've read almost all of their books.

I miss my Reading Group. I was in a book club for 15 years. It got harder and harder to get together and finally just ended. So sad. I haven't been able to get started in another group again, even though I've had invitations to a couple of different groups.

I do have an account on Goodreads, and follow what others are reading, but it's not nearly as nice as talking about a book for a couple of hours with friends.

I haven't read any of these. Have you? I don't even recognize the authors, which is good: new stuff to discover.

Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)
We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)
Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)
The Kills Richard House (Picador)
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
Unexploded Alison MacLeod ( Hamish Hamilton)
TransAtlantic Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
Almost English Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Spinning Heart Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)
- See more at: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/news/longlist-2013-announced#sthash.awGQjrdt.dpuf

Monday, July 22, 2013

Camping: My final word is "yuck".

I didn't do tent camping when I was a kid. We had a wonderful, simple cottage on the Bruce Peninsula, on the Georgian Bay side. It was heaven. I went camping once with cousins.

I went into camping with my family with a bad attitude. So, I wasn't surprised when I didn't like it the first time. But, I was open to trying again because the first time we went too far for too long and complicated things somewhat with washable dishes and ambitious meal plans. And, my girls loved it. They woke up with smiles on their faces, were happy all day and went to sleep happy.

The 2nd camping trip was way better. It was shorter, in a perfect spot in Gatineau Park, our meal plans were simple and we used disposable dishes, and we concluded our trip with a couple of nights in a good hotel in Ottawa.

Now, I've had my 3rd camping trip and although I've worked hard on my attitude and simplified everything, I still cannot say that I like camping.

This time, it was the mud and mosquitoes and sleeping on the ground (even on a blow-up mattress, I was achy and miserable) that bugged me. We were lucky, we didn't have to set up or take down in the rain, but it rained every night except one. The mosquitoes were awful. The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to avoid mosquitoes. The woods we were in were teeming, so we had to leave our campsite to avoid the monsters, which we did as much as possible. Then, you can cover up. We were in the middle of a heat wave, so covering up was not possible and they bit through clothes anyway. So, we had to spray chemicals all over us and used an Off lamp and citronella candles. Here's an article on insect repellents that says they're not so bad, but yuck. I was achy for several days after returning to my comfortable bed at home. So, yuck is my final word.

However, I'm not the only one in the family so I put our camping gear away where we can find it if we need it instead of putting it all in the yard sale pile.