Thursday, July 29, 2010

D.C. Trip

I'm finally getting around to uploading my pictures from my trip to D.C./VA earlier this summer. Shortly before I left for the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute, Nathan and I got new iPhones, and I was so glad to have it for the trip. Better quality pictures than my digital camera, and video capability too? Yes please.

My first evening in D.C. I took a bus from my friend Story's (where I was staying) to the Army base to hear the Army Strings play a concert. It was really fun. Being in a military ensemble is sort of my dream career, so I was excited to get to hear them play.

Military uniforms are so sexy. Actually, Army band uniforms are not, but the idea of the whole thing is still sexy.

The Suzuki institute was a fantastic experience. A lot of the faculty there were just phenomenal, like this guy. Watching him teach was just wow. Hearing him play is also wow. You can hear him yourself on YouTube. My Book 2 course teacher was good, and I met some cool people in the class, including a guy who plays with the Air Force Strings. Ahh, he's living my dream!

While I was in Virginia, I got to see my cousin Allegra, her husband Matt, and their beautiful daughter Eva.

Taking pictures with babies involved can be tricky!

The institute ended Friday night, July 2, and late that night Nathan, his brother Andrew (who is living with us this summer), and our friends Jillian and Chaz arrived in D.C. (You see, it had been my brilliant idea to have everyone road trip out to join me in D.C. for the 4th of July.) The next morning the fun commenced with a trip to The WWII memorial.

This plaque made me think of Band of Brothers!

It was a beautiful day.

After the Memorial, we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

We saw all sorts of interesting historical facts and learned new things, but what made the biggest impression on me were the life-sized models posing throughout the museum, and the fun things we could do with them.

We saw Julia Child's kitchen!

Bon Appetit!

There was a display in the museum about birth control. Yes, you read that right. Did you know that the pill is better than nature?

It says so in the Smithsonian. It's a fact.

After the riveting birth control exhibit, we saw a collection of dresses belonging to First Ladies. We saw dresses ranging Mary Lincoln's to Michelle Obama's inaugural gown!

We ended our time at the museum with the musical instrument exhibit - irresistible to a group of five musicians, of course.

The string instruments were the best part, obviously.

Three Stradivarius instruments!

And a "pocket violin"...?

Just because a violin could theoretically fit in a rather large pocket doesn't mean I'd feel safe sticking it in such a place!

At the end of the day, we were tired. Here's our fearless traveling crew, minus myself:

The next day began with church, as all Sundays should.

We walked to St. Paul's on K Street. On our way there we passed this sign, which we found humorous due to the extra-wide door the facilities boasted.

St. Paul's was wonderful. If I lived in D.C. I would go there every Sunday. The choir was amazing, the congregation sang enthusiastically, and the acoustics were beautiful. I was moved.

After church we went and saw the National Cathedral. It was a really long walk, because the metro doesn't go anywhere nearby. It was all uphill. We got tired. Especially me, because I have the shortest legs out of the five of us, so I had to run every few steps to keep up. Sigh.

There was a concert going on in the cathedral. We went to part of it, but it was kind of boring, so we wandered off to find some lunch.

Next up was the Navy Memorial.

Then, the Air and Space Museum! I'd been there twice before, but it's not really one of those places I could ever get tired of.

When I was in middle school I used to dream of being an astronaut. When I walk through the Air and Space Museum, I find myself wishing I had followed that particular dream. But then I remind myself that playing the violin is cool.

We finished our 4th of July celebration at the Air Force Memorial, where the Air Force Band was giving a concert and we had a great view of the fireworks.

We were happy, but apparently blurry.

I loved the monument. I think it's supposed to be like a Missing Man Formation. Arguably one of the coolest memorials ever.

Stevedad (Nathan and Andrew's dad) joined us at the concert, as he had just arrived in the city for the American Guild of Organists convention that was beginning the next day. A couple of Chaz's friends from high school joined us too, and after the concert we walked around for miles looking for a place to eat. By the end of the day when we added up our walking travails, we had totaled over 13 miles. Let me spell that out - over thirteen miles. We were tired.

The next day Andrew, Jillian, Chaz, and I headed back to Massachusetts, leaving Nathan to enjoy the dork convention AGO Convention with his dad.

We took a slight detour and went to Philly on our way back, where we enjoyed Chipotle for lunch (mmm...) and then went and saw the Wanamaker Organ in Macy's. (I guess Nathan and his dad weren't the only dorks among us...)

We took a couple of wrong turns getting from Philly back home, but we made it in one piece, pulling into our driveway around 11:30 pm.

Perhaps one of the best Fourths ever. Everyone should spend the Fourth in D.C. at least once, right?

Road trips with family and friends are fun.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Graduate Studies and Hindemith

I'm starting a master's program in violin this fall. I've paid my deposit, done loan entrance counseling, and signed papers. It's happening.

It worries me slightly, though, that when I received a recent mailing including information about exams I'll have to take during orientation and excerpts I'll have to prepare for orchestra auditions, I didn't really feel excited or exhilarated about the challenges I'm about to face.

I felt like I wanted to die rather than practice that Hindemith excerpt.

I hate Hindemith.

And I'm not too keen on studying music theory for the rest of my summer, either.

I've been out of school, self-employed, and managing fairly well for the past four years... I think going back to school may be quite an adjustment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


By 9:00 this morning I had already run and done my weight training at the gym, gotten my oil changed by a friendly mechanic who bore a striking resemblance to George Clooney, and gotten ready for my day of teaching. Now four lessons down and four still to go after my lunch break, and the day is shaping up nicely. Miranda is gaining a sense of playing with natural arm weight, Katharine is keeping her spine straighter, and Jillian has memorized Lightly Row. And a highlight of today so far, a student who recently transferred into my studio as an unmitigated disaster is disproving my assumptions and blew me away with his improvement since last week. It's good - humbling, really - to have these reminders that students can always surprise me.

It's looking like a productive day. I love productivity.

Coming soon... tales and photos of the great Washington D.C. road trip - we spent the 4th there and had a great time with family and friends.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catalog Living

I stumbled across the blog Catalog Living recently and was giggling out loud as I read it.
This was one of my favorite posts, but lots of them are really clever and humorous. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!