Friday, September 30, 2005

The Pigeon Ascending

This morning before my lesson I stopped for a moment to talk to Hoovie in the upstairs hallway of Phillips. I'm glad I did; not only was the conversation good, but it put me in the right place at the right time for a moment of inspiration: a small flock of birds, five or six perhaps, rose from somewhere below and ascended into the sky. I saw not the birds themselves, but their graceful shadows cast against the side of the building: fleeting shapes of grey winging their way into the heavens. I was on my way to my lesson to work on The Lark Ascending, a romance for violin and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams. This very evening I am performing it in a student recital, and in a few short weeks I will begin rehearsing it with our school orchestra. It's a beautiful piece. Unfortunately, I am not sure that I have ever seen a lark, which appears to be the English equivalent of the Germanic musical interest in cuckoos and nightingales. Not that it is entirely necessary for me to have seen a lark in order to play the piece, but it's something I would like to see. Today in the shadows that I glimpsed, I could imagine that I had seen larks ascending. Most likely they were only pigeons; certainly they were not really larks... but the image of those graceful grey figures remains in my mind. I hope I can play the piece well this evening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ladies Home Journal Coincidence

I forgot to mention the strangest coincidence!

A few days ago, while working out at the gym, I was reading some magazine from the gym's varied collection. I think it might have been Ladies Home Journal magazine. Flipping through the pages, I saw a picture and thought to myself, "Oh, that's Jessica and Adam." Wait a minute. "HEY, that's Jessica and Adam!!! What are they doing in Ladies Home Journal?!" But sure enough, there they were - a little feature article! It was the strangest, most unexpected thing - and I found the article a very enjoyable read. The picture was cute, too.

By the way, their blog is here. It has fun stories of Brigid as she grows from a baby into a little girl.

Monday, September 26, 2005


I just wanted to say that I love singing Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine. It is quite possibly the most amazing piece of music ever. I can't say enough about this piece - you simply must must must get a recording and hear it. I could never ever get tired of it. Ever.

Speaking of tired, I am tired. I feel tired almost all the time.

But not tired of Leonardo, of course. Just exhausted-worn-out-tired.

L'uomo colle sua congiegniate e grandi ale, facciendo forza contro alla resistente aria.

Leonardo, vieni a volare! Leonardo, sognare!

"A Case of the Mondays"

Noooo... Mondaaayy... Nooo...


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


"Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek the Fox would say, 'Child, to say the very thing you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words.' A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the centre of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, not let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?"

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Singing Horses

Now this is my idea of great music.
Roommate had a cold, and now I have a cold, too. It's no fun. Colds are just wretched, because you feel awful and stuffy and ache-y and tired and you just want to curl up in flannel pajamas and nap all day; unfortunately, you can't really do that because having a cold isn't like being really sick, and doesn't provide you with enough of an excuse to skip all the work you ought to be doing.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Roommate has a cold. I feel sorry for her, but I do enjoy the entertainment of hearing a British accent through a very stuffy nose. It's highly amusing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Collected Thoughts

1) My legs are sore from running.

2) Brahms Symphony No. 2 is amazing.

3) Chamber music class is not always so amazing.

4) Choir has the potential to be amazing as long as people can keep their egos out of the way.

5) The most exciting thing about choir is that we are learning Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine by Eric Whitacre. There are no words to describe my utter delight. I get goosebumps singing it each day. It's amazing. AMAZING. If you haven't heard it, get a recording of it. Sometimes fabulous dissonances make the resolutions that much more satisfying.

6) Roommate is getting her own blog right now, as I type this. I'm not above boasting that it was due in part to my own suggestion last night that she get a blog. I'm such an inspiration to those around me.

7) The real stuff on my mind, the stuff I've avoiding writing for almost a week, is a flood of conflicting thoughts and emotions that's sort of overwhelming right now. I had my first violin lesson of the year last Friday, and my teacher asked me about my post-graduation plans, and suggested some grad schools for me to look in to. We talked for about an hour and a half. I knew that conversation would be inevitable... but somehow I still wasn't ready for it. I have a lot of big decisions to make in the next few months, but I don't know how to go about making those decisions. I want to have a nice, neat equation, plug in pros and cons and other factors, and then solve for the right answer. Unfortunately, all the facts I want to plug into that equation aren't as black and white as I'd like them to be. Should I trust my thoughts? My feelings? What is the wisest course of action? What makes the most sense? What should my priorities be? How do I go about finding out what I want and what God wants for me?

8) I think that the contents of 7) are hanging over my head like a little subconscious black cloud, contributing to the overall stress and worry in my life right now. I've been wondering if stress could be contributing to my headaches lately - perhaps they are tension headaches. This does seem to make sense, given that my back and shoulders are painfully tense and I grind my teeth incessantly all night and am unable to stop. Augh. I seriously need to relax. (If only it were that easy.)

9) Roommate's blog is up and running, so check it out. Her blog title/url is fantastic.

10) I love music. But why do I have to get so bogged down in worries, comparisons, insecurities, frustrations, and oh, woe is me, the stress of it all? (I hate that word, stress. It's so overused. Find me one college student who hasn't used the expression a hundred times - "Oh, I'm so stressed out." And now here I am whining about it. I never thought I would stoop so low. Sigh.)

"Life is lived forwards but understood backwards."- Kierkegaard

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


This morning I went for a run. I ran to a beach. I sat on the beach for a long time and thought and prayed, with Tschesnokov's "O Lord God, hear Thou my prayer" running through my head. Then I ran back to school. I think the whole trip was over 5 miles. It was really nice. I am thinking I might make that run every Tuesday, since my Tuesday mornings are void of classes.

Monday, September 12, 2005

This morning at the gym I was skimming through a magazine while working out on the elliptical. One article claimed that you should "kiss your significant other the way you want to be kissed." I nearly laughed aloud - has the Golden Rule degenerated to this?!

Last night as I lay in bed trying to sleep, I was feeling worried and overwhelmed by many aspects of my life. As I prayed, I suddenly realized that the answer - the overarching answer, I mean - was already in my mind and heart, and had been all day. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He never shall suffer the righteous to fall: He is at thy right hand. Thy mercy, Lord, is great, and far above the heavens. Let none be made ashamed, that wait upon Thee!" It's a quartet from Mendelssohn's Elijah, and it was the anthem we had sung in church choir that very morning. It had been running through my head all day, and yet still I had been stressed, worried, overwhelmed, and overwraught. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord..." And so I did.

Oh I love Elijah...

Blessed are the men who fear Him, they ever walk in the way of peace.
Through darkness riseth light, light to the upright.
He is gracious, compassionate; He is righteous.

The stormy billows are high, their fury is mighty.
But the Lord is above them and almighty.

'Be not afraid,' saith God the Lord, 'be not afraid, thy help is near!'
God, the Lord, thy God, saith unto thee: 'Be not afraid!'
Though thousands languish and fall beside thee,
And tens of thousands around thee perish,
Yet still it shall not come nigh thee.

Lift thine eyes, O lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help.
Thy help cometh from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He hath said, thy foot shall not be moved, thy Keeper will never slumber.

Lord, our Creator, how excellent Thy name is in all the nations!
Thou fillest heaven with Thy glory. Amen.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's September 11. I haven't forgotten.

I feel weighed down with so many things. This year my ever-present headaches seem worse, and I've frequently been feeling vaguely nauseous as well. Is this caused by stress, or does it just make me less capable of handling stress well when I'm already feeling poorly all the time? I don't really know what to do about these things.

It's hard to make big decisions. My future, my finances, and the possibility of grad school - these are just a few of the things on my mind.

It's sad when things are already decided and you don't really have options when you make decisions. It's a situation like this that has made it so that this November I cannot attend the wedding of Libby and Jon after all.

Even sadder than that very sad fact is this: This evening as I got into my car to go to a friend's birthday party in Ipswich, I found a small photograph tucked under my windshield wiper. The photo was a hospital newborn picture, and on the back was written in blue pen, "Have you seen me?" The name on the photo is Emma Anne Cargill. She was born on June 23. She is a beautiful baby. She is not even three months old and she is missing. Somewhere on the North Shore is an empty crib and a devastated family. I never do things like this on my blog, but if you are reading this and feel so inclined, would you please take a moment to pray for Emma Anne Cargill and her family? Somehow this picture with the handwriting on the back makes it all so personal... I feel heartbroken.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Deep Thoughts by Sarah Marie

Advice of the day: Make your lack of personal motivation as proactive as possible. Instead of reaching the end of the day and saying, "I didn't really accomplish anything today," wake up in the morning and announce to anyone who is listening, "I choose to do nothing at all today!"

This way you can feel a sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal, instead of just feeling like a loser.

Monday, September 5, 2005


Roommate: (reading aloud from my blog) "FavoriteBoy helped me set up a wire shelf organizer thingy."
Me: Say that again!
Roommate: Wire shelf organizer thingy. By the way, I love how you call him FavoriteBoy on your blog.
Me: It's to preserve anonymity.

(And I try to never be sappy and go on and on about him. And he's awesome about not leaving sappy comments or anything like that.)

Anyway, everyone should be so lucky as to have a roommate with a British accent. She's the real thing.


1) Hurrah for Labor Day! Hurrah for no classes!

2) Roommate has been away for the long weekend, but she comes back to me today! I have cared for Squishy in her absence, and thankfully, he is still alive and swimming.

3) Roommate and I have been getting up and going to the gym at 6 am to work out almost every morning. Yeah, we're pretty much amazing.

4) I have received my graduation checklist in the mail. There are no words for the feeling of immense satisfaction I derived from looking at the long list of classes, nearly all of them completed!

5) This morning as I was in the shower, I noticed that my Suave bottle of shampoo claims, "Suave deep cleans and clarifies - for less than the more expensive brands!" I found this advertising technique rather ridiculous; they may as well just say, "Hey look, this bottle of shampoo costs less than any bottle that costs more than this one!"

6) FavoriteBoy helped me set up a wire shelf organizer thingy. It has already improved my quality of life. FavoriteBoy improves my quality of life.

7) This is the end of this list of unrelated facts.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Getting Into the Swing of Things

My computer has been away from me for some one-on-one time with FavoriteBoy... that is to say, it was being reformatted. This was rather necessary, due to the fact that generally when I would click to open a program, I'd have to expect a wait time fairly comparable in length to the sort one might experience at the DMV, or perhaps at the doctor's office. Okay, so I exaggerate... but only slightly. The humming, the waiting, the whirring, and then more waiting - it was all beginning to raise my blood pressure to unhealthy levels. So FavoriteBoy intervened, and my computer has now been reformatted. It is functioning beautifully and I feel much calmer. Reformatting really does wonders.

All of this brings me to the fact that boys often surprise and amaze me. Something about that Y chromosome just makes boys see something and say to themselves, "Oh look, behold: a Thing! Let me take it and contemplate it and take it apart into little bits and find out how every little part of it functions together to make the whole work properly!" I personally consider myself fairly computer literate for an average 22-year-old female. However, I would have no idea whatsoever as to how to approach the task of reformatting my computer. I have a few simple solutions up my sleeve for computers that run slowly - empty the temp files, empty the recycle bin, defrag the hard drive, and check the disk space. After that, my list of ideas is exhausted and I usually try the good ol' Ctrl + Alt + Delete, or maybe just a simple restart. So thank goodness for boys and their innate curiosity that helps them develop a way with Things. (It is worth mentioning that boys are great for lifting heavy boxes, moving heavy furniture, squishing nasty spiders, and being sensible, as well.)

Everything is really happening now at school - choir, classes, and supposedly practicing, too. My room and my roommate are both as delightful as I initially thought they would be, and FavoriteBoy's apartment is a great place for both homework and fun, too. As far as classes go, I am taking all the usual things - violin, orchestra, chamber music, and choir - as well as violin pedagogy, Latin, and "special studies," which is just like a ridiculous sort of senior seminar for music majors that doesn't really do anything to prepare us for the nasty reality that is lurking just nine months ahead of us, waiting to bite us in the bum.

So far, the musical things in my life have been rather stressful - let's start with the fact that my violin teacher ('s wife) has decided that I should go into New England Conservatory in Boston each week for my lessons, nevermind the fact that I go to Gordon, he is employed as a teacher at Gordon, and I am paying to study violin here at Gordon. Money and schedule not permitting this, I have left him a polite and anxious message explaining my predicament, and I am waiting to hear back about all of that.

I would just like to say that amidst the stress of violin, chamber music, and orchestra, I love choir very much and I am realizing that I will miss it when I am graduated. Choir reminds me how much I love music when violin things are too stressful for me to be feeling that love.

On a darker note, I did not practice very much this summer, and the result of this is that the Tchaikovsky is limping along pathetically, while the Vaughn-Williams... let's just say that my lark is not ascending; it is nose-diving instead.

Finally, it's very nice to be back on campus. I recall a quote from Winnie the Pooh, which goes something like this: "Friends are the very bestest of things... even more best than honey."

And in other (very important) news, I bought a car. My first one. With my very own money. It is a blue 2002 Saturn. Massachusetts is a ridiculously difficult state in which to purchase a car and go about the business of registration and insurance, but a very kind friend helped me out with an extensive ride just when I needed one. And now the car is sitting out in the Wood parking lot looking pretty, and I am happy to have it. I think I also have a job, which makes everything even better.

Goodnight my friends. Comment and say hello!