Organ Day with the Philadelphia Orchestra

February 2023 Update

posted in: Drawing, Photography, Reading | 0

After the slog that was January, I was glad to have a shorter winter month that was gaining light by the day. Philadelphia had some unseasonably warm days which, combined with the longer days, meant getting out and doing some more things.

That said, Holly and I did go out on one of the coldest nights of the month. The Philadelphia Films Society is showing all of the BFI’s 100 Greatest Films of All Time. I feel very fortunate to live in a city that plans to show all of them. I believe it’s the only city to do so.

We went to see the number 88 film, Kar-Wai Wong’s Chungking Express which has been one of my favorites for many years. I’ve watched it several times streaming or on disc but had never seen it on the big screen. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to do so.

The trailer makes it seem a lot weirder and a lot less charming than it is.

We definitely want to get to many of the other 100 movies. Luckily, the film society is spreading them out over the course of the year so we won’t get overwhelmed trying to see several films in a short period of time.

My birthday is at the end of February and although we officially took the first weekend of March off to celebrate, we did do a couple of things at the end of the month to celebrate.

The first thing wasn’t explicitly for my birthday, but it occurred the weekend before my birthday so it felt like a good way to kick things off. We went with a couple friends to the first part of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Free Organ Day.

Organ Day with the Philadelphia Orchestra
Organ Day with the Philadelphia Orchestra

We got to experience:

  • Gigout Grand Chœur dialogué, for organ, brass, and percussion
  • Jongen Fourth movement from Symphonie concertante, for organ and orchestra
  • Bach Sinfonia, from Cantata No. 29, “Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir”
  • Gabrieli Canzon in double echo, for 12-part brass choir and organ
  • Beach Prelude on an Old Folk Tune (“The Fair Hills of Éire, O!”)
  • Handel Selections from Organ Concerto No. 8 in A major, Op. 7, No. 2
  • Saint-Saëns Finale, from Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”)

I was particularly struck by the Jongen piece which I was not previously familiar with. Here’s a version of the fourth movement from the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

I also feel fortunate to live in a city with a world class orchestra whose home venue is in walking distance of our home.

The more explicit birthday outing was dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Le Virtù.

Another highlight was starting to plan our vacation in May. We’ll be going back to Carmel-by-the Sea. Last year, we first went to Phoenix to visit some family. This year, we’ll first go to Los Angeles to see some friends before heading up to Carmel.

Planning the trip made me think about getting a new watch. I’m not particularly adventurous, but we do a fair bit of hiking. I started researching durable watches that would be good for outdoor activities. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos from Teddy Baldassarre which led me to a Casio G-Shock. I placed an order with them and received my package a few days later.

When I picked up the box from our mailroom, I was surprised to see it was crushed. Fearing the worst, I decided to take photos of the box and whatever I might find inside. Not only was the outside box damaged, but so was the cardboard box for the watch. Not only that but the metal box that housed the watch was so crushed that I could not even open it.

I was glad I took the photos. I had gotten a personal email from a sales rep at Teddy Baldassarre so I email him with the photos. Within 10 minutes, someone called me to arrange shipping a new watch. Within an hour, I had a new shipping notification. I was very pleased with the quick response and pleased with the watch when it arrived a few days later.

Casio G-Shock
Casio G-Shock


I was able to get out a few times to take photos, and I already posted about them.

I was a little disappointed that I had taken a lot fewer pictures last year than the previous few years. I’m glad this year has gotten off to a good start. I’ve already taken 273 photos. By the end of February last year, I had taken 169 so I’ve already taken over 100 more.


I finished the Procreate for Beginners tutorial I started in January and started another Skillshare tutorial, also called Procreate for Beginners.

As I mentioned in a previous, I enjoyed creating mandalas in Procreate so much that I went on to make a few of them. In February, I created a couple more.

I think one of my goals for March will be to try to create these in pencil or pen.


I read 2 books in February: White on White by Ayşegül Savaş and The Direction of the Wind by Mansi Shah.

I had read a couple of short stories by Savaş in The New Yorker and enjoyed them enough that I wanted to read more by her. White on White had come out around the time I read those stories but decided to wait for the paperback.

What at first seems like a subtle character study about an artist renting an apartment turns into something more sinister. I hadn’t read much about White on White before reading it so didn’t know what to expect and was certainly surprised how the novel evolved. Conversations between the unnamed narrator and one of the owners of the apartment initially seem innocent and friendly but Savaş slowly dials up the tension.

I read The Direction of the Wind because I was able to get a free Kindle version. I sometimes get what free books I can, usually through the Kindle First program, as a way to read more diversely. It took me a little while to warm to The Direction of the Wind, but I ended up enjoying this story about a young woman from Ahmedabad, India who learns her mother, who she thought died when she was a child, was still alive. The novel alternates between the young woman’s search for her mother with flashback scenes of how and why her mother disappeared from her daughter’s life.

February 2023 Reading Update
February 2023 Reading Update

Books Read in 2023

So far, I’ve read 5 books in 2023:

This Creative Midlife Posts in 2023

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