Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Chapter 947 of My Life: In which Emily, Gabe, and Libby come visit the Palmers for the 4th of July Weekend!

*grins with delight and eager anticipation*

Saturday, June 26, 2004

I wish people still dressed in early-1900's clothes like in the film Gigi.

By the way, while I essentially like that movie a lot, Gigi's decision is a silly one. She tells Gaston, "I'd rather be miserable with you than without you." That's a really bad idea. She'd get over being miserable without him, but being miserable with him... that's permanent.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Meghan Cox Gurdon is one of my heroes. She's creative, intelligent, funny, and a very good writer. Today's article reminded me of myself and my Dad, and how he always says I can live at home forever and he'll buy me a yurt and put it in the backyard. Anyway, read it, and by all means, read her archives too. So great. Ahh, family life can be endlessly entertaining... among other things. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

By the way, for those of you who haven't chanced upon it yet, The Hatemonger's Quarterly is one of my favorite daily reads. Funny! Clever! Witty! Astute! I'm adding it to my links... it's just that good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Some music just seems to fit certain seasons. Mozart is nice summer-music. I'm glad I'm working on Mozart No. 4 this summer. (Two movements memorized, one to go! And yeah... my teacher wants me to write all the cadenzas. Oh joy. But maybe Nathan will help, if I'm nice to him. Would that be cheating?)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Today I ate lunch on a park bench with my friend Sarah W. She told me that a mutual acquaintance of ours isn't going to major in violin; he's going to study communications instead. We both sat quietly for a minute, and then I said, "I'm imagining what it must be like to decide to do communications instead of violin. It must be like dropping a huge weight off your shoulders." "Yeah. I was thinking that, too."

To not have your identity tied to whether you perform well or not. To not have your feeling of being a success or a failure change from day to day based on how your practicing felt. To not leave lessons in tears because violin is your LIFE and your teacher just spent an hour ripping not just your playing but also you as a person to shreds...

To be able to play badly or even just less than how well you'd like to be able to play, and to shrug it off because - "It's not my major or my future career goal. I just do it on the side because I love to play."

I wonder what that must be like.

Monday, June 14, 2004

From National Review Online:

This is the text of Baroness Margaret Thatcher's eulogy at Ronald Reagan's funeral on June 11, 2004.

We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.

Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause — what Arnold Bennett once called "the great cause of cheering us all up." His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation — and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.

Yet his humor often had a purpose beyond humor. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.

And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery "Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs."

And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.

Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.

Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.

Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War — not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.

I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on his words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit: "Let me tell you why it is we distrust you." Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.

We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan began to reshape with those words. It is a very different world with different challenges and new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful than the world he inherited on becoming president.

As Prime Minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.

Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles — and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively.

When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do.

When his aides were preparing option papers for his decision, they were able to cut out entire rafts of proposals that they knew "the Old Man" would never wear.

When his allies came under Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look confidently to Washington for firm leadership.

And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding.

Yet his ideas, though clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth.

Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform.

Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's "evil empire." But he realized that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors.

So the President resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and to offer sincere cooperation.

Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity — and nothing was more American.

Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of his achievements. Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavors because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for — freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.

As an actor in Hollywood's golden age, he helped to make the American dream live for millions all over the globe. His own life was a fulfillment of that dream. He never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love of country.

He was able to say "God Bless America" with equal fervor in public and in private. And so he was able to call confidently upon his fellow-countrymen to make sacrifices for America — and to make sacrifices for those who looked to America for hope and rescue.

With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today the world — in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev and in Moscow itself — the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer "God Bless America".

Ronald Reagan's life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.

On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: "Nancy came along and saved my soul." We share her grief today. But we also share her pride — and the grief and pride of Ronnie's children.

For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again — more himself than at any time on this earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think — in the words of Bunyan — that "all the trumpets sounded on the other side."

We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."

Friday, June 11, 2004

I am reading Ronald Reagan's autobiography.

I think Margaret Thatcher is one of my heroes.

I cannot help feeling that I am watching the memorial services not only of a great man, but also of a great era... and an era that I never knew, or at least cannot remember knowing. An era when Ronald Reagan stood in the face of moral ambiguity and even moral equivalence. An era that saw a sunrise of hope in spite of the twilight of the West. The Reagan administration was a good time for the United States of America and for the world, because Ronald Reagan was a good man. Yes... some very fine days are behind us; and that is worth our tears. But as Margaret Thatcher said, "He is himself again — more himself than at any time on this earth." All weariness gone. Oh, someday... and what a day that will be.

If the LORD delights in a man's way,

he makes his steps firm;

though he stumble, he will not fall,

for the LORD upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

"May God bless Ronald Reagan and the country he loved."

- President George W. Bush

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Today I watched on TV as the casket containing the body of Ronald Reagan was lifted onto a caisson as part of a public ceremony in Washington D.C.

I was very young when Reagan was president, and I don't really remember his administration at all; yet his legacy touched and shaped my life by touching and shaping the world around me... and it will continue to do so.

It has been a very solemn day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

A sixteen-year-old girl is staying at our house for a while. She's been here for a week, and will be here until...? We're not quite sure.

I've started going to a different church this summer. So far, I like it a lot.

Do souls have gender? (Or something akin to gender?) Isn't gender a thing more deeply rooted than simply our physical design or sexuality?

Sometimes I feel like the least well-adjusted, normal, adaptable, mature person I know.

I've been thinking about so many things. I wanted to write about things, but now, I don't really know what to say.

Growing up.

My heart aches.