Author Archives: ritalovestowrite

About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Composer of the Week

Name: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Born: 7 May 1840

Died: 6 November 1893
Nationality: Russian
Genre: Romantic
Famous Works:
  • Romeo and Juliet
    Premiered 1870 (Major themes come in at about 6:00, 7:58
  • The 1812 Overture
    — which he wrote on commission and didn’t really like very much. He said of the piece that is  “very loud and noisy, but [without] artistic merit, because I wrote it without warmth and without love”.  Premiered 1882
  • The Nutcracker 
    — premiered in 1892, this two-act ballet based on “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” was commissioned The two-act ballet is based on the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, by Marius Petipa a choreographer at the Mariinsky Theater
  • Swan Lake
    Premier 1877. Tchaikovsky’s first ballet. The initial response to Swan Lake was terrible. Although it slowly grew to moderate popularity, it didn’t become famous until after the composer’s death. Swan Lake Waltz
  • The Sleeping Beauty (waltz)
    Premiered 1890 at  the Imperial Theater in Moscow  The Sleep Beauty was Tchaikovsky’s second (and favorite) ballet.

    Born in Kamsko-Vyatka, Russia about 725 miles from Moscow. His father. Ilya, was a mine inspector and Pytor was educated to follow in his foot steps and become a civil servant. Although he started piano lessons at 5 and showed a passion for music he went to the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St. Petersburg. While away at boarding school his mother, Alexandra, died of cholera.

” In 1859, Tchaikovsky honored his parents’ wishes by taking up a bureau clerk post with the Ministry of Justice—a post he would hold for four years, during which time he became increasingly fascinated with music.”

By 21 Tchaikovsky was taking music lessons at the Russian Musical Society. Later that year he enrolled as a composition student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Two years later he moved to Moscow and became a professor of harmony at their Conservatory.

Tchaikovsky’s Characteristic Dances for orchestra, his first publicly performed work, were debuted at Pavlovsk in late summer of 1865.

His first major work to be presented to the public was his Symphony No 1 in G minor  “Winter Daydreams.” Because Tchaikovsky began his formal musical training in St. Petersburg, not Moscow, his music “much more of a western style of music theory and composition.” [Favorite Classical] That made Symphony No 1 (and his later music) approachable for European audiences. But his Russian background is clear in his melodies. He fully embraced the Russian culture. “So Tchaikovsky music has a Russian character and Russian melodies, but at a musical standard high enough for Western European audiences. The best of both worlds!” [Ibid]. He wrote it when he was just 26.


Tchaikovsky at the time he wrote Romeo and Juliet

There’s the sheer melancholic beauty of the melody in the flute and bassoon, but there’s also what Tchaikovsky does with it, or rather doesn’t do with it. As with both of the main tunes in this movement, Tchaikovsky wants to give his melodies – closed, circular objects rather than Beethovenian cells of symphonic possibility – their full expression, and at the same time create a sense of musical momentum.
[The Guardian]



Although most remembered for his ballets Tchaikovsky wrote a variety of musical pieces from string quartets to piano concertos to patriotic anthems like Marche Slave (which he wrote on commission of the Russian Musical Society in support of the Serbian side of the 1876-1878 Serbian-Ottoman War. Listen closely and you’ll hear his famous theme, two Serbian dances and a bit of the 1812 Overture.)


Vegan Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins



1 cup of Almond Milk

1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Sugar

1 teaspoon Orange Peel

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

1 teaspoon Almon Extract

1 cup of Frozen Blueberries

1 cup of Dark Chocolate Chips



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare muffin tin or muffin cups. I got 8 large muffins from this recipe, and I suspect that it would work for 12 regular sized muffins.
  2. In a small bowl combine the Almond Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar.
  3.  In a large bowl combine the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and salt.
  4. Mix the Sugar, Orange Peel, Vegetable Oil, and Almond Extract in a small bowl or a small liquid measuring cup.
  5. Add the Almond Milk/Apple Cider Vinegar mixture to the Sugar mixture.
  6. Mix the liquid into the dry to incorporate, but don’t over mix. It’s O.K. to have some lumps.
  7. Fold in the Blueberries and Dark Chocolate Chips.
  8. Divide the batter into the muffin cups.


9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the muffins pass the toothpick test.

10. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before releasing from the muffin cups and eating.



A Year of Quotes 1.25.16

Hard to believe that Oscar Wilde month only has a week to go. My how time flies…

London is too full of fogs and… serious people.. Whether the fogs produce the serious people or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don’t know…

— Lady Windermere’s Fan


A Year of Quotes, 1.20.16

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

— The Picture of Dorian Gray



A Year of Quotes 1.18.16

Another skewing witticism by Mr. Wilde. …as appropriate in today’s verbose political season as it was in his day.

All Americans lecture, I believe.
I suppose it is something in their climate.

— A Woman of No Importance





A Year of Quotes, 1.17.16

After another round of pre-Iowa caucus debates here in The States I think it is time for some thoughts on the body politic from Oscar Wilde.

I am told that pork-packing
is the most lucrative profession in America,
after politics.

–The Picture of Dorian Gray

A Year (plus) of READING Dangerously: #49 One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Reading Dangerously Logo 2

Ken Keesley’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, #49 on the ALA’s Most Banned and Challenged Books from 2000-2010 sucks you right into another world and keeps you there, straight-jacketed by the prose and the action of non action, until the very last page. And then, days and weeks and months after shutting the book you still find yourself thinking about it… and wondering why the heck you haven’t written your Year of READING Dangerously entry for it.


For the record I really, really liked this novel. I really liked the movie too — I think it is Jack Nicholson‘s best work —  but in the book, which I read long after seeing the movie, we get much more information on the minor characters and generally more to think about. The thing I liked the most about the book was the P.O.V. perspective of Chief Broom, and that fact that as a mental patient he is a somewhat unreliable narrator. As much as Murphy is the protagonist (and what a protagonist he is!) the Chief is the main character. Murphy moves the plot, but the Chief is the one I found myself caring about.

As established previously, I’m not the banning kind… but IF I were the banning kind I’d probably find a LOT of fault here. Racial slurs abound. Offensive Language, Nudity, Sexism, Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, hints of Homosexuality, and lots of Violence.


Besides the 1975 movie the book was also adapted into a stage play in 1963. That makes sense as almost all the action takes place in the ward. I’d love to see this on stage. It would work really well on both a big atrium stage and in a small in the round setting.

For more on this book check out:

101 Books


A Year of Quotes, 1.15.16

Another from the delightful Mr. Wilde…

What a silly thing love is!
It is not half as useful as logic, for it does not prove anything and it is always telling one things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things
that are not true.

–The Nightingale and the Rose


Secondary Character Saturday: Alan Rickman: Jamie (Truly Madly Deeply)

Another entry from my Secondary Character Saturday month of Alan Rickman movies… the delightful Truly Deeply.

Here’s a link to the missing “Sun Ain’t Going To Shine Anymore.”
How appropriate?


[Image courtesy MGM] [Image courtesy MGM]

Who: Jamie Howe

From:Truly Madly Deeply

Once upon a time there were two people in love, their names were Nina and Jamie. They were even happy enough to be able to live happily ever after, (not often the case) and then Jamie died. Nina is left with a house full of rats and handymen, a job teaching foreigners English and an ache that fills the night sky. [IMDb]

You’ll have to wait until the 25 mark before he enters the movie properly, but it is worth the wait.

Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM] Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM]

Written and Directed by:Anthony Minghella

Produced: 1990

Cover of "Truly Madly Deeply"

Pros: unconditional love, plays a mean cello, comes back from the dead to comfort his soul mate, handsome, fun.

Cons: annoying, cold (literally), selfish

Most Shining Moment: Since I think about 5 other people…

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