Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Eve services (all five of them) were good. I had a lot of villain solo bits this year.  I had a pretty solo part in You Raise Me Up, and I played a verse of Silent Night as a solo.

I love Christmas.

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light...

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end.

After Christmas dinner tonight, Mom and Dad and I were cleaning the kitchen and putting leftovers away. Dad and I sang "Bless Us All" from the Muppet Christmas Carol (one of the best songs ever), and I discovered that Dad can do a great Kermit voice!

I also had the following conversation with Dad:

Sarah: Hey Dad... I eat pretty healthily, for the most part, kind of, and I go running on a regular basis. So how come there are girls who eat junk and never work out who are so much skinnier than I am?

Dad: Well, it's genetic.

Sarah: Thanks alot; thanks for that.

Dad: You're welcome. God genetically designed you much prettier than all those skinny girls. Why are you bringing it up? Just to gloat about it? Don't gloat because you're prettier than skinnier girls.

Oh, my Dad.  He's a good Dad.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My grandparents from Texas are visiting for Christmas. I get apprehensive and nervous about people visiting us. I can't quite describe it, but ever since I was little, I sometimes feel sick to my stomach when extra people are in our house.  A little selfish bit of me misses having just my own family in our house. I'm an introvert, I guess.

A surprising thing happened this afternoon. I'm playing my violin at all the Christmas Eve services at my family's church. There were two services this evening, and there are three tomorrow. At one point in the service, the lights all go out and I play the first phrase of O Holy Night all by myself. I was nervous about this and was worried I didn't know how to make it "musical" enough, so when I got home from work, I practiced it a few times, trying different fingerings and shifts and bowing and phrasing ideas and things. Then I played it for my Mom downstairs. My Grandaddy was there too. Now, my Grandaddy can sometimes come across as being a somewhat critical person... or at least, I'd say he's difficult to please. Also, he's not a Christian. Well, after I played the phrase, my Mom talked to me about how it sounded, and then Grandaddy said he wanted to tell me his thoughts on it. I prepared myself for a criticism, even though he's not a musician or anything. But then he proceeded to try to explain that even though he didn't know much about violin or how I made it sound a certain way, that it was beautiful and that it was the most moving thing he had ever heard played on a violin. And... he was sort of crying. I was so surprised.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I’m doing some work for my Dad again while I’m home. Right now I’m writing the text for his new PatternSmith website, and also looking at making some significant changes to the layout suggested by the designers he’s hired. These things are fun for me. Last summer I made icons for his software, and it was so great... getting paid to draw pictures. Now I’m enjoying making sample web page layouts in Paint Shop Pro. I keep thinking that I might enjoy studying graphic design. I think I might be good at it? Anyway, in terms of income, I think graphic design has a higher rate of success than playing the violin does. But we’ll see.  

I remember hearing an Aquinas scholar speak in chapel once, and she said, "Nobody ever really knows what they’re doing or where they’re going. We all just try to move from one crisis of uncertainty to the next."  Something like that.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


I'm home for Christmas. It's nice to be done with finals and juries and papers and exams and everything.

It has come to my attention (thanks in part to an email from Becka) that I have neglected to inform my faithful blog readers of an important development in my life.   It's been months since things first transpired, so for those of you who don't already know about this, I suppose I should tell you now.

Um, I have a boyfriend. His name is Nathan. He's great. I like him.

And that is all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Friday: violin jury

Monday: piano jury, Newton to Einstein final exam

Tuesday: Interpretive Analysis final exam, music history final exam

I've made it through another semester and I'm alive to tell the tale. All that's left now is my music history paper, which will be finished and turned in tomorrow. My violin jury was okay. Not great, but okay. The cadenza wasn't great at all. Maybe it wasn't even okay. But the Mozart in general was okay, and the Schumann, while less okay than the Mozart, was still okay. Oh, and Friday night after juries, I played at the college president's house for the trustees' Christmas party. That was fun. Wes came too, and sang two Christmas-y songs, and Nathan came along and accompanied both of us. Then we all sang carols along with the party-goers. Mrs. C. told stories of her childhood. And they fed us dessert! It was great. So yeah, being the entertainment for rich people ain't bad at all.

My Newton to Einstein exam was pretty good. And I'm really happy, because they've already posted our final grades and I did WELL! Yes, that's right... the science class that I hated... I did well! Yay.

My piano jury was okay. Scary. I'm glad it's over. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll continue taking piano lessons next semester. I like Dr. P. a lot, but it's hard finding time to practice two instruments, be in choir, be in orchestra, be in chamber music, do well in classes, and have fun in life.

My two final exams today were okay. Dr. Chung's final was scary and pretty hard... I missed at least half of the chord progressions in the dictation portion. Dr. P's final was hard, too, and kind of unfair, just because it didn't remotely reflect what we've learned and talked about this quad. I mean, we've basically only talked about Schoenberg, which is also frustrating, because Schoenberg is by no means representative of all that's going on in the twentieth century, and also because I don't even like Schoenberg. Anyway, the final was all these essay questions about neoclassicism and about French Impressionism vs. German Expressionism, and about social and historical and technological contexts, and about music post-1945, and blah blah blah. I felt like I knew most of it, I guess. But not really from class. Then there was the score analysis part, and that part was just annoying. I don't believe people who think you can discern great wisdom and enlightenment by doing a melodic contour analysis of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. I think they're just making it up. And that's what I did on the exam - I just made things up. It'll be extra funny if I get a good grade on that portion. I tried to say just the sorts of things that musicologists say. I did some number class analysis too, and said things that sounded good but that I didn't really believe, such as "Here Schoenberg employs frequent use of tones 2, 4, and 6, thus outlining a triad, although obscured by chromatic alterations, octave displacement, and intermediary tones."

In the middle of the music history exam, as we were all analyzing our scores, Dr. P. stepped out of the room for a minute. At that point, I calmly announced, "Schoenberg is poop." I don't really know what came over me; I just said it. Everybody laughed; I think it's what everyone was thinking. Or maybe not... I suppose it's possible that a person or two in that class really like Schoenberg. Seems improbable, though.

Anyway, now I'm writing my Shostakovich paper.

And on Friday, I get to go home. And soon, it will be Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

My violin teacher is back from Korea, and I had a lesson tonight. It was great, but do you ever get that feeling like there's just too much, too much information/knowledge/stuff to learn/skill to aquire out there and you'll never be able to grasp more than 1/1000th of it, and meanwhile the big, cruel, mean, heartless world is waiting to bite you in the behind and watch you fail?

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Friday I had a two and a half hour violin lesson with Dr. O. It was so, so good. She inspires me. I should practice more.

I'm learning the third movement of the Schumann a minor sonata in just a few days. I started it on Thursday, and I'm performing it tomorrow. Bleh.

Friday and Saturday we had the Christmas Gala. It got me into the Christmas spirit, for sure. The theme was "A Dickens Christmas" this year.

I had a really weird dream on Friday night. I wasn't really involved in the dream; it was more like I was a spectator. What I saw was this: Apparently people could live and "walk" in space now, within these special space suits. Americans, and people from all over the planet, inhabited various regions of space... not on planets or moons, but really just in empty space. People were moving around and stuff, and then two men were fighting. It was a scary fight, and I was frightened. They both had these huge guns that sent out whooshing balls of flame. These flaming globs were huge and scary. Finally one of the guys torched one of these flaming globs of fire right onto the others' head, and then they were both falling through the atmosphere, down to earth, and people were yelling that they'd never survive re-entry, it had never been done before... and I woke up.

Monday, November 29, 2004

1) So I went to class the morning after writing my last post, finished paper in hand, only to find out that the entire class had been granted an extension and the paper wasn't due for another week. Apparently the teacher told this to the class when I had left the room to get my accompanist, or something. Because I know I would remember something as super as an extension on a due date, and I don't remember ever hearing anything about that. Anyway, I wasn't too upset because I was glad to have gotten it done anyway. And now that it's, well, now, I realize that I'd be twice as stressed about trying to write the paper now. Because now I have other things to worry about, like an essay on Pincher Martin and twentieth century music, and practicing for tons of performances/coachings/lessons/juries coming up. And, and, and... yeah.

2) Courtney called me... she and Michael are engaged! Happysuperhappywhee!!!

3) Thanksgiving was good. I went with Nathan to his roommate's house. It was fun. And from there Nathan and I took the commuter rail/T into Boston twice, because Nathan was playing organ for a wedding at Park Street Church over the weekend. I had a great time... I spent plenty of time relaxing, but I also read Pincher Martin and got in at least a little practicing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

So, this is my second all-nighter this semester. What's UP with this?! I don't do this. I mean, I admit that I'm not exactly a model student, but I don't think I pulled any all-nighters last year, so what's the problem this year? It's this ridiculous Interpretive Analysis class and the fact that I'm too dumb to interpret things analytically, that's what the problem is. I'm writing a paper on the Adagio from Bruckner's Seventh Symphony. The actual analysis portion was researched several days ago, outlined Sunday and Monday, and that part of the paper was finished several hours ago. Now I'm on the bit where I'm supposed to compare two performances and decide which is better, but I'm a horrible musician and I have no ear for this sort of thing, so how can I be expected to do this?! And it's an Adagio. Like, über slow and everything. So it takes ages to listen to every time, and every time I listen to it, I glean basically nothing. So here it is, practically 6:30 in the morning, and the paper is due in two hours, and I haven't written the interpretive part. Ugh.

Let's also talk about how I'm really not on top of anything else, either. I mean, if I were feeling a bit behind or loserly about this one class, that would be one thing... but I'm a terrible pianist and a terrible violinist, too, and I don't practice nearly enough.

And another thing... I just feel like a huge old beached whale sometimes. A worthless, big, fat blob sitting around day after day reading homework, practicing various musical instruments (my latest is the trombone; Jaana needs a student for pedagogy and it's me! heh.) and being fat and worthless. Oh, I want to go to the gym, but it's just so much gosh-darned TIME, you know? I mean, walk over to the gym facilities, run and bike and work out and stuff, walk back, take an extra shower... and then make sure to fit all that in at a convenient time each day when the gym isn't closed for weight-training classes. Yeah, right. Over the summer I ran like every day. Now I run like once or twice a week if I'm lucky. And I eat junkier stuff in general, too. Because I'm lazy and because my lettuce keeps going bad in the refrigerator. Pooh. So yeah, no time to go to the gym... well, I do have time, but when I have free time I'm so often lured away by other, more pleasant ways of spending my time. So basically I'm lazy.  I'm an underachiever. I'm pathetic.

So here I sit, nursing my bad mood and wondering how I'm going to finish this paper in time. Stop blogging and write the stupid paper, Sarah. Yeah. I'm so tired. Drank some coffee, ate a few pretzels. Tired, tired, tired. Gotta finish the paper, go to class, turn it in, go to a violin lesson, go to orchestra rehearsal, give a presentation on Schoenberg in music history class, and then, then, ahh... then I can sleep. But oh yeah, I have to pack too, for Thanksgiving.

Hey, let me whine about another thing, okay? Well, I'm really disorganized in a lot of ways. Maybe in every way. So that's just one more aspect of how-Sarah-is-failing-at-being-a-decent-person. My room is currently a disaster area, and the piles creep up on my until I feel like I'm suffocating. How can I focus and concentrate on this wretched paper with unfolded socks on my bed, Brahms and Beethoven on my dresser, and random stacks of papers on all other accomodating surfaces? Help me, someone, please... I'm drowning in a pit of nastiness, right here in my own apartment. And it's my own fault.

Where does all my time go? I can't figure out where all the time has gone... I feel like I have nothing to show for this semester. How depressing. I'm so not deserving of my parents being so great and sending me to school. I should be more like my sister and my brother. I need to monitor my life more carefully. I should keep track of every precious moment. I should practice five hours each day.

Every time I have a lot of deadlines, I'm not prepared. I stress out, become somewhat frantic internally if not noticeably, and then barely pull through with decent grades and average accomplishments. Once I've met the deadlines, I'm so exhausted from barely squeaking through that I sleep for a while instead of getting ahead on the next bunch of work that I know will come my way. I think that somewhere along the line, I failed Time Management 101.

I hate this paper.

Back to work.

Oh dear Jesus... couldn't You come back now?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Visit from Dad

My Dad is in town for the weekend after a trade show he had this past week, and he'll be here to see me in about an hour! I'm so excited.

I love my life. Innumerable blessings, let me tell you...

Fall colors in New England
and so much more...

I fall short in a lot of ways... but I keep getting up again. Because life is worth it, you know?

I can't wait to see my Dad and spend the weekend with him. I'll play my violin for him and he'll think I'm terrific, and it won't matter so much that so many people are better than I am and my pinky on my bow hand just isn't doing it's job correctly and my shoulder isn't working quite right either. He'll explain wavelengths and frequencies to me and I'll feel better about my science class, too. He'll meet my friends and I know he'll like them, and he'll see my apartment and he'll think my room is super. We'll have fun together, Dad and me.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Surprisingly, I've had two good violin lessons in a row. (Now we'll see how the next one goes...) Chamber music has been good lately, too. I'm learning so much.

Tonight I performed the first movement of the Schumann A Minor sonata in a recital here, with Nathan as my pianist. Um, it went well! I think this is one of the first recitals I've played where I haven't felt like crying afterwards. I was nervous, of course, but as I played, I kept passing one tricky spot, and then another, and then another... all the places I could have messed up... and everything was going pretty well! I'm happy and relieved. I'm learning a lot by doing this Schumann... it's the perfect piece to help me fix my bow arm problems. Written all over my music are things like this:

"Your bow arm must have a fantastic relationship with gravity!"
"Your strings are the surface of an ocean, not a six foot pool. Your bow is a whale - don't skim the surface - dive to the ocean floor. Play with 300 ft. crescendos!"
"This piece is about how the heavens and the earth moved when he met Clara - that's what all his music was about."
"know which part of your bow arm is doing the moving at each moment."
"Experiement: slower bow, near bridge, dig in, sustain."
"sustain, sustain, sustain!"
"turbulence, unrest - something is not right!"
"be like a monkey! watch knuckles."
"more! more!"

So yes... I'm working on acquiring a huge sound... and I'm happy, because a lot of people, not even knowing that I'm working so hard on my bow arm and my sound, told me after the recital that my sound was really growing. Yay!

On another note, my back still hurts... a lot. It kind of makes it hard to play.

Time to go watch a little bit of the game!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Dr. Edwards at Gordon

On Friday, my piano teacher from Wheaton (Dr. Edwards) and her husband gave a duo recital as guest artists here at Gordon. It was all really fabulous... they played a movement from Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole that was so exciting and fantastic... and their encore was their own arrangement from Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals (the finale)... it was really amazing. Everyone loved the concert; it was not only extremely well-played, but it was fun too.

By the way, I was in the lobby when Dr. Edwards first walked in the door to the music building on Thursday night, and she recognized me right away and gave me a hug. I was happy about that... it's nice to be remembered.

Anyway, she and her husband also did a masterclass yesterday morning... it was terrific. Michael, Nathan, and Andrei played. I really enjoy masterclasses; I just love hearing what great musicians and great teachers have to say about music. I like how Dr. Edwards and her husband approach teaching, too.

After the masterclass yesterday, I had some time to sit and talk with Dr. Edwards for a bit while her husband looked at the organ in the recital hall. It was fun to catch up. Ah, I miss Wheaton sometimes. She mentioned that there's a drama in the Conserv lately over music history requirements; certain "progressive" faculty members want there to be more of a world and new music emphasis and less required music history courses in the curriculum for music majors. Like, instead of being spread over two years, all the required music history regarding the history of classical music would be squished into just one year. The conversation came about because I was saying how many of my best memories of Wheaton are tied to Dr. Saylor and what an amazing professor he is. Anyway, I am strongly opposed to the idea of making this kind of change in the curriculum, as is Dr. Edwards and of course, Dr. Saylor. I hope things work out well.

I talked to Dr. Edwards about what it's like to study with my violin teacher here... he's an amazing musician and an amazing teacher, but he's so tough sometimes. She was surprised at some of the things I told her... things he's said and done. She said it's definitely an approach of the old school of teaching music... tear 'em down to nothing and then rebuild them slowly in your own image... something like that. Her husband, a classy, quiet man, said that it can be a good way to learn and accomplish a lot, but that I should be careful it doesn't do more harm to me as a person than it does help to me as a musician. Dr. Edwards said something nice - she said that she remembers me as being such a musical person - and she said not to let that get squelched. Hmm.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What?! Quad finals already? The semester is halfway over, and I still feel like things haven't quite gotten started yet. Practicing is definitely not going as well as it should be. That will have to improve for the rest of the semester or juries will be less than fabulous and my teachers will be less than pleased.

We had our choir homecoming concert last Saturday... I loved it. Singing the Schutz Magnificat was a high point. The Gabrieli Hodie is pretty terrific, too. We also did the Tallis If Ye Love Me, some spirituals, Here I Am, Lord (arr. Ovid Young), Children of the Heavenly Father (arr. Robert Scholz), and an arrangement of Ride On, King Jesus. Even the Richard Rodgers Medley at the close of the program was fun, despite the cheesiness. Anyway, I enjoy choir. The morning of the concert had been not-too-wonderful... an unpleasant thing happened which made me sad, but my fabulous parents and a fabulous friend made things better... and then the concert was terrific and the evening afterward was pretty nice, too.

Classes are okay. I have a science exam coming up, for which I must study. I just finished a paper yesterday morning discussing Schubert's Erlkonig... I hope it turned out ok.

I had a fantastic violin lesson on Wednesday. I think I am beginning to find out how to expand my sound into what Mr. B. has been trying to help me create all along.

I finally bought a CD player today (well, I mean yesterday, I suppose). A lot of money, yes, but I shouldn't go through another school year unable to listen to music just because my CD player is at home in California. (Oh, and I got it for a fraction of the price the website says; BJ's is so cool.) A smart boy helped me pick out a good one to buy, and then helped me get it all set up. I immediately listened to my favorite moments from my favorite CD's... and I am so happy. Music! I love it.

Bedtime. It's raining, which is the nicest sound to which to fall asleep, I think. I'm happy... I feel content.

(P.S.: not so confused anymore.)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Today is September 27. 27 is 3^3, which is a pretty great number. Today is also three weeks from this day, three being, again, a pretty great number. And three weeks from the aforementioned day means 3x7 days, with both 3 and 7 being pretty great numbers.

It takes a pretty great person to realize the pretty-much-greatness of numerology and plan accordingly.

All in all, today is a pretty great day, I think.

At least, somewhat noteworthy.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I just woke up from the strangest dream.

I was in an old building. It was snowing outside. Then I realized that I was on the campus of Wheaton. I'm not sure how I knew this, because the particular building I was in wasn't a building from Wheaton at all, but it all just felt like Wheaton, you know? I just knew it was Wheaton. Then I looked out of a window and I could see all the buildings of Wheaton... the steeple from the chapel, and the tower of Blanchard, and everything. But I was in this open, spacious, mainly deserted building. It was kind of run-down, and the only things inside of this big main room were a few chairs and music stands. It was almost like an old barn. And there I was, and I realized that I was there to rehearse chamber music with my teacher and his wife (a cellist). For some reason, I was playing a concert with them, and the concert was the next day. I hadn't seen the music before, and I was basically sight-reading. We sat down, but before we could really start rehearsing, something happened and we all kind of dispersed. There was something they had to do, or something. I was just waiting for a while. I walked out of the main room onto a sort of snowy porch, which, oddly enough, felt a lot like the snowy porch at Jen's family's cabin, where I spent last Thanksgiving. I wasn't sure what my teacher and his wife were doing, so whether we were taking a real break or not, and how long this break might be, was all kind of unclear to me. I guess I decided that I might have enough time to wander the campus a bit. Dear old Wheaton.

I went to Saga, the cafeteria. I walked inside and it felt just like it always did. I could smell beef and barley soup, the kind I loved so much. I looked around and realized that there were a lot of things that were different now. People were standing at various stations serving specifically sized portions of things like soups and salads, which they never used to do. And all the stations were in different places. There was a guy over to the right, where the conveyor for trays used to be, in the little area with the tall tables and chairs, and he was standing there serving soup. It was sort of like that Chinese sizzling rice soup, except instead of individual bits of rice, it was filled with rice cakes. All of Saga was mostly deserted; I realized then that it was late and they were closing up. The guy asked me if I wanted some soup, and I said no thank you. I went ouside onto the snowy pathway. I felt sad and missed Wheaton a lot. I hadn't seen anyone I knew in Saga. A woman I didn't know followed me outside and said, "you can eat some, you know." She then proceeded to tell me that the carbs in the rice from the soup weren't really so bad, and if I wanted to I could even pick the rice out and eat the vegetables. I told her that I wasn't on a no-carb diet, but that I used to go to Wheaton, and I just felt so sad about missing everyone and everything that I knew if I sat in Saga, I might cry. She was nice. She said something about how she would talk to some specific man (I didn't recognize the name at all, although she gave one), and see about getting me to come back to Wheaton. I remember feeling like I kind of wanted to go back.

I wanted to walk to the Conservatory and see people. I wanted to see Kelly and Elizabeth, and Debbie Rodgers, and Ethan, and Dr. Joiner, and Gretchen (she graduated two years ago so of course she wouldn't have been there; dreams seldom make sense), and Pam, and Calvin, and Matt, and Graeme, and Ruth and Hannah, and Christine, and Laine, and Chutch (Cheryl), and Dr. Saylor, and oh, everyone... I wanted to go to Fischer too, and see Kara as well. But for some reason I knew I didn't have time, and I remember thinking that I would still be able to go and see them on the following day. (In the end I didn't get to see them, because I woke up before the next day happened; I'm sad about that.)

I walked back to the old place where we were rehearsing. I remember thinking that I should invite my friends from Wheaton to the concert, which I think was sometime the next day. I somehow had the understanding that the concert was going to be in College Church, sort of like that concert my teacher and his wife did there once when I was a student at Wheaton.

When I arrived back at the old building, all the people from the choir here at Gordon were standing in the little narrow hallways leading into the main room. I stood there and we all sang "Dere's No Hiding Place," because for some reason the music was lying around and someone picked it up and started singing. Jaana and I had it memorized, so we joined in on the alto part. Then Dr. Ou came up to me and it was time to go from the hallway back into the main building and rehearse some more.

However, as we walked toward the main room, we could hear that someone was playing the Mozart oboe concerto inside. We went inside, and there was a whole group of people in our rehearsal room, and it was kind of both a children's choir and a children's youth orchestra, all at the same time. I also had some vague impression of some members of the Gordon Symphony Orchestra being there as well. Dr. O. told them it was our rehearsal space, so they all left. Then we were rehearsing chamber music. Melissa was suddenly there, and while she wasn't playing anything, she sat beside me and watched my music over my shoulder, which made me very nervous. We played something by Prokofiev, and then we were doing some Bach Cantata, but don't ask me how, since cantatas aren't for small string ensembles. We also played a slow piece in 6/8 with some dotted rhythms. It was a beautiful piece. We didn't rehearse for very long; suddenly everyone was packing up and it was raining I think, and I was confused, and I remember not knowing exactly what we were playing for the concert. I knew I needed to practice, but I didn't know what to work on. I had a whole folder of music that Mr. B. had given me, and I didn't know where to start or what we would be playing the following day.

And somewhere in the midst of this, I woke up.

(They say that there is nothing more boring than telling people your dreams. Oh well... I kind of wanted to write it down while I remembered it, because usually after I've been awake for more than a few minutes, I forget all my dreams.)

Friday, September 17, 2004

I'm back at school. All is well and good and okay, for the most part. I'm scared about Interpretive Analysis, which is proving to be a somewhat difficult course. I'm nervous about being able to work hard enough and accomplish enough in my violin lessons this semester. I'm taking piano lessons for credit this semester too, and while I'm excited about that and I think I'll like my teacher a lot, I'm a bit worried about finding the time to practice. I'm in orchestra, chamber music, and choir... choir! It's really fun; I love it already. Jaana joined choir as well, and it's really fabulous to sit next to her and just sing our little hearts out. We're doing Mendelssohn's Elijah, and even though for the real performance I'll be playing in the orchestra instead of singing in the choir, it's still really fun to get to sing the choruses in rehearsal. We're also doing some nice double-choir pieces, some cheesy but fabulous songs, and various other cool pieces. So yes, so far I am loving choir.

Other than all of that, I have a class called Newton to Einstein to fulfill my core science requirement. All I shall say about that is that it provides me with a nice time for an hour-long nap three days a week. But we have an exam coming up, so I guess I should start reading the book. Heh.

I've been kept quite busy lately by the theater department's production of the musical The Secret Garden - I'm playing in the pit orchestra, and it's turning out to be a somewhat sizeable time commitment on my part. Of course, it is okay because I will soon get a nice paycheck to make everything worthwhile. And to be honest, in the meantime, I am actually enjoying it a bit. Of course, the first two shows were more enjoyable than the four that followed, and when I consider that we still have seven shows left, I'm feeling a bit unenthusiastic about that at the moment, but all in all, it's okay. I have a soft spot in my heart for cheesy musicals, I guess... and this one has some great songs and wonderful moments.

I had my first violin lesson this Wednesday. Longest lesson ever... my lesson time ended up going from about 9:00-11:15 pm. But we talked, and even though it was really hard, it was a good thing, I think. I think my teacher and I understand each other a little bit better now. I hope that things go well this year. Oh, and I hope I can be diligent and work very hard this semester... there are so many goals I have set, so many things I would like to achieve.

In other news, my apartment is really fun. I enjoy all the girls in the apartment a lot, and I love having a kitchen.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Camping was great. We went with four other families. I had a fabulous time. Fallen Leaf Lake was just like I remembered it... although I used to think the hills were bigger and harder to climb, and the rock in the lake was farther from shore. So I guess growing up changes perceptions like that. Heh. But it was so much fun... seeing "the lagoon," "the dam-bridge," "the rock," and everything. A duck bit my toe while I was lying on the beach playing with Kate and Luke. The water was cold but I swam some anyway. We played lots of card games. I slept outside under the stars with lots of little kids. I washed my hair in freezing cold water one morning. I canoed and kayaked around the lake every day. I explored the trails back behind the lagoon with Cleo and Lane. I sat with Henry on the stump of a tree over a hundred years old, partly submerged in the water near the lagoon. He told me that dragonflies have a lifespan of just 24 hours. Kate and Luke tickled my feet and climbed all over me. We played I Doubt It and Nerts and Speed and Spit. I rode my bike around the campground with Cleo and Henry. We roasted marshmellows, and I made a perfect one for Larkin. Dad flipped pancakes one morning like he used to when he worked at Aunt Jemimah's at Disneyland. He's a great pancake cook. I sat on the beach and my nose and toes got a bit sunburned.

There were a few difficult things... there is a 17-year-old girl living at our house right now, and her wonderful family came... I love her siblings and her parents, but she doesn't treat them particularly well at all, and I spent a lot of time breaking up arguments, trying to prevent squabbles, and soothing hurt feelings.

Sometimes I felt like I ended up babysitting a lot of little children, but I loved it anyway. I had a fabulous time.

And I want to marry Henry someday. He is perhaps the nicest, handsomest, bravest, and most generous boy I've ever known. But I am going back to college this fall, while he is staying in Nevada County and starting long division.

While I was on vacation, my newspaper published my article. (The picture is bad, though; is my nose really that big?) And when I arrived home from vacation, there was a message from a guy who read the article and wanted to talk to me. I called him back today, and it was a pretty funny conversation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Sadie: A Good Dog

c. 1988 - August 3, 2004

The best and most beautiful dog a family could ever own.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Our dog Sadie is dying right now.

She's very old... over a hundred years old in dog years... so I've watched her getting older, slower, and more frail all summer, and I've known that she would die soon. But still... I'm really sad. About a week ago I sat beside her and brushed her coat for a long time, talking to her, stroking her head. I brushed, and she licked my arm, and I was sad because I knew she'd die soon. But now she really is dying, and she can't even get up anymore. We're having her put to sleep tomorrow. I'm really sad. She's a part of so many of my childhood memories... I love Sadie, I really do. She's been a good dog. Today I've been lifting her head so she can drink her water. She has the softest, sweetest, prettiest head of any dog in the world. I love to stroke the top of her head, between her soft black ears.

A conversation I had with a friend about a week ago (before I even knew that she would die this soon) has helped me somewhat; otherwise, I think I would feel more badly than I do about having her put to sleep. I asked him what is I suppose a weird question: why is it that euthanasia is a horrible thing for people, but it's okay to put animals to sleep? Maybe the answer is obvious, maybe it's a silly question, but I just wanted to be sure, you know? So I asked him what he thought about this. Because I was worried that Sadie was or would soon be in pain, and I didn't want that for her, but I don't think it's okay to put elderly or terminally ill people out of their pain. So I needed to think about it. And Joel said, "I think the difference might be that human souls continue on after death, and as such, living through a painful experience could benefit the person and those around them, whereas with an animal, it will just be in pain longer."

I had never thought of that. It made a lot of sense to me. I don't know what to think about souls, though. There really isn't Biblical support or anything for the souls of animals enduring past death, and I can't imagine snakes and mosquitos and beetles in Heaven, but... it's Sadie's soul that animates her, that puts the shine behind her dark eyes, and makes her alive... can it really just slip away and be gone, forever? Can something-ness turn into nothing-ness? Will there be animals on the New Earth?

I wish old age could be a nicer thing. Many aspects of it probably are nice, but the frailty of the body failing in old age isn't nice, and it's sad for those who love that person, too. And while probably less so, it's sad with animals, too.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

A Love Letter

Look: someone wrote a love letter.  It's a pretty good love letter, too.  I mean, if I were a guy, that's the kind of love letter I'd want to get.  I wonder who wrote it?  Heh.

Letters to the Editor

in other news, my local newspaper hasn’t printed my article yet.  I feel like quoting Diana from Anne of Green Gables: “WHAT?!  The editor must be crazy! ... That’s ridiculous!  He must not have read it.  I’m going to cancel my subscription immediately.”

These are the wackos who write for The Union.  I'm serious... clicking these links can potentially provide full moments of pure amusement, accompanied perhaps by briefer moments of frustration.  If your time is limited or you're not particularly interested, at least click the first link.  It's too good to be missed.

Then there was this letter to the editor, which is really quite clever and funny.

And our paper's publisher has a good sense of humor about the attacks on him from subscribers.  Read this... so fantastic.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

My Mom calls me “Miss Responsibility” this summer.  I like this; it means she notices that I try hard to do better at the things that don’t come very naturally to me... things like being responsible and diligent and using my time and resources wisely.  And this summer I am doing that.  I work full-time (designing and creating icons for software and writing documentation, newsletters, help files, and website information) , I run 2-3 miles a day (I’ve been really consistent about this), I help around the house with cooking, cleaning, and outdoor work (like cutting, carrying, and stacking slash from 9 huge trees my parents had taken down), I’ve practiced my violin fairly consistently (although for about two weeks I took what I consider a needed break [translation: I slacked off like the loserly wannabe violinist I am]), I’ve sewed two skirts and a pair of pajama shorts, I’m crocheting a baby blanket, I play the piano and read when I have spare time (which is seldom), go sailing with my family about every other weekend, etc.  And now I’ve promised to assist in writing a music history curriculum, on top of everything else!  I’m busy.  And I'm a little worried about finishing all the things I have to do plus the things I want to do this summer.  Anyway, I really haven’t had any time to just lounge around wasting time.  Which is good.  I feel pleased with myself.  And my Mom is pleased, too.

My Dad, on the other hand, says he is “counting the moments” until I go back to college... this because I ate his ricecake yesterday.  Heh.  But the truth is, he loves having me home. :)  Right, Dad?

In other news, I bought my plane ticket to fly back to Gordon College for the fall semester.  My friends, do you realize how ground-breaking this is?  This is the first time in my three years of college experience that I will be returning to the same college for a second year of enrollment.  And I'm pretty much mostly kinda excited about it.  I'm excited about sharing an apartment with five great girls.  I am excited about decorating my room once I get there.  I am excited about seeing friends again.  I am really excited about my classes (I know; I'm a nerd.)  I am excited about cooking in my apartment.  I am excited about being in choir.  I am excited about the possibility of getting some violin students.

I am looking forward to lots of great music in the coming year.  Orchestra, chamber music, choir, violin lessons... it'll be fun.  Today I have the slow movement of the Brahms clarinet-cello-piano trio stuck in my head.  It’s so nice.  I’ve missed music this summer; it’s been a rather non-musicalish summer.  Well, of course there’s been my own (sporadic and sucky) practice of Mozart and my occasional practice of Schumann, and of course there’s Rode, which hardly counts as music, and um, as for Bach, what Bach?  Was I supposed to be practicing Bach?  hahahahaaa, okay, I'm going crazy.  I’m really losing it.  I am a lazy and unproductive so-called violinist and my teacher is going to KILL me.  Oh, the joy.  So yeah, I am 1/2 excited + 1/2 scared about seeing my teacher again and playing for him. 

I'm excited about a lot of things, and yet I am also restless.  I know it is a good thing that I am returning to Gordon; I need to finish up school and get my diploma, and staying in one place for at least two years in a row is the only feasible way to accomplish this.  Plus, I like Gordon, I really do.  But I think there will always be a bit of wishful reminescing... what will this next year be like at Wheaton?  What will everyone be doing there...without me?  What will this year be like at Biola?  Of course, I'll always miss those places and those people.  I have so many good memories.

But I'm glad to be going back to Gordon.  I think it will be good.

You know, I'm tired of people laughing at me for transferring so much.  "Three schools in three years, ha-ha!  Where are you going next year?  Ha-ha!"  (Everyone who says this thinks they are so clever... if they only knew that everyone, everyone, says this to me.)  What's so wrong with having uncertainties and not quite knowing what you want to do?  Why do people act like not being able to "settle down" and "stick with a decision" is such a terrible thing?  First of all, I can settle down and stick with a decision.  But there is really no necessity to do that right now, when I'm just 21 years old and my whole life is ahead of me and this is my time for preparing for the rest of my life.  If I stuck with a plan or a decision that wasn't going to prepare me for the life I wanted, I think I'd regret it later.  And whoever said that we're supposed to know exactly what we want in life when we're 21 years old?  I don't really know what I want to do.  But it's becoming more clear, I think.  And what better to do while I figure out my purpose than to take the wonderful opportunities that have been open to me?  So yeah, I've been to three schools in three years.  I've had wonderful opportunities and wonderful experiences, and in the long run, I don't think I'll regret the decisions I've made. 

And what am I going to do after I graduate?  I don't know.  I am thinking about going to England for a year.  And surprisingly, when I told my parents about this idea, they were very enthusiastic.  My parents are really the absolute best thing in my life right now.  They know me so well; they know my personality and my successes and my struggles, and they love me so much and always want to help me figure out what will be the best thing for me.  I love my parents.

So here's to another year at Gordon.  I think it'll be a good one... oh, and we're doing Elijah!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2004


Today is a very important day.

It's a birthday and an anniversary, in fact.

Heh... it's the birthday of my blog, and therefore the anniversary of my blog + me.

We're cute together, aren't we? :)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Yesterday I drove to Berkeley with my parents to try to sell my violin (but with Ifshin taking a 25% commission, I've decided to investigate other options before giving it to them to sell) and then to Danville.  They spent some time talking to a girl who might be coming to live at our house for a year or two, and I spent some time browsing through Borders while I waited for them.  Which was fun.

In other news, I'm sure you've all heard the charming quote by Linda Ronstadt by now:

"It's a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian.  It can cloud my enjoyment.  I'd rather not know."

After her recent antics and statements, I would venture to say that she won't have to worry about having her enjoyment clouded by the presence of Republicans or Christians anymore.  Heh.  Let's all help Linda feel more comfortable and enjoy herself more at her concerts by never supporting her in any way.  If any of you ever did support her to begin with, that is... which I suppose is doubtful.

Friday, July 16, 2004

While I'm inclined to distrust anything from a source called Women's Wall Street (why should women need a Wall Street separate from the one the men use?  This isn't public restrooms, my friends), you might want to check out this article.  Various reliable sources reference it (check out Instapundit) and the basic facts at least seem to be true.  Scary?  I think so.  Is racial profiling a good idea?  Duh.

My Editorial

The publisher of my local newspaper wrote an article arguing against Michael Moore and his fallacious film, Fahrenheit 9/11.  He was subsequently barraged with angry letters from liberals.  Since I thought it was very important that other views be represented, I wrote what started as a letter to the editor and ended up being somewhat longer than that.  I submitted it this morning... now, we'll see if they publish it or not.
Here is what I wrote:
I am a 21-year-old college student, home for the summer, and I am concerned about the anti-war, anti-President Bush, and even anti-American views so often presented in the letters to the editor and the columns in this newspaper.

The philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.  The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Yes, those who make and keep us free are indeed the better men.  Men like my grandfather have known war and have fought courageously; they were willing and even glad to do this for the country they loved and for the future it secured for their families.  Today, good men and women like this are keeping watch over the many lesser men and women who protest the war in Iraq, disparage President Bush, and praise Michael Moore.  

War is not its own end.  President Bush and his administration desire peace, a truer peace than those who oppose the war can envision.  They have a more realistic perspective concerning the most effective means to achieving that peace than do the Utopian pacifists who desire peace but cannot see that in the real world, lasting peace demands sacrifice.  It is easy enough to sit on the sidelines and heckle President Bush when you are not the one responsible for the lives and the future of a nation. 

Many of those who oppose the war demonstrate obvious inconsistencies with their responses to previous administrations.  They will pursue any means they can find or fabricate in an attempt to influence the results of the upcoming election, even if this means inventing bizarre and inconsistent arguments.  President Bush leads our nation in a just war against terror and is barraged with the angry responses of his critics.  Why did these same people not protest when Former President Clinton invaded Bosnia and Haiti?  Many in our nation are outraged as President Bush works for a much-needed regime change in Iraq; why didn’t they oppose Former President Clinton when he imposed regime change in Serbia?  The same people who expressed anger with President Bush’s decision to bomb terrorist camps didn’t object when Former President Clinton bombed the Chinese Embassy.  President Bush has liberated 25 million from a genocidal dictator, and the very people who initially voted for the war suddenly oppose him and our actions in Iraq.  President Bush claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and that there was a tie between Saddam and al Qaeda (a claim Mr. Putin and Mr. Allawi defend).  Have the people disputing these claims already forgotten that Former President Clinton made the same claims and called for this very regime change?  Now, President Bush is taking action, and many Americans are furious.  The double standard should be apparent.

Many other arguments against the war are fallacious and unfounded.  These arguments rest on false claims about oil, assumptions concerning President Bush's underlying motives, or even far-fetched conspiracy theories.  However, Saddam's regime of terror, his known support of terrorist organizations, and the resulting threat to the United States render these weak arguments utterly inconsequential. The kind of evil that dehumanizes and delights in torture and terror had to be stopped.  Saddam and his sons have now been removed from power, and it is in the best interest of the United States to continue to ensure that terrorist activities cease and a stable democracy succeeds in Iraq.

War is an ugly thing, but it cannot be considered uglier than the mass murder of innocent Iraqis.  It cannot be considered uglier than the attack on America which reduced the Twin Towers to rubble and claimed the lives of more than 3,000.  Those who oppose the war in Iraq on the basis of inconsistent arguments or specious sophistry are no friends of America, and they are no friends of truth, justice, and freedom.  It is crucial that we stay the course, continuing our efforts to fight against terrorism, so that we may win a real and lasting peace. 

Mr. Ackerman, thank you for your opinion piece on Michael Moore and for your courage against the onslaught of critical letters you receive.  There are many in Nevada County who appreciate your work at The Union and in this county.
(That's it.  Comment!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Grammar Fun

Hey, Readers! As many of you know, I have what you might call a little grammar fetish. I just think that people should use good grammar. Is that too much to ask? I frequently come across blogs, papers, and other forms of writing that commit irritating and obvious grammatical sins. Well, in pondering the pathetic state of spelling and grammar today, I came up with the following all by myself.

(I am so cool.)

There are few grammatical errors more annoying than the comma splice, please don’t use it.

Possibly more annoying is the run-on sentence which joins two or more independent clauses and uses no punctuation and will really drive your reader crazy don't use these either.

Ending sentences with prepositions is an extremely annoying habit, and a problem you should surely deal with.

Please, kids... their really coming down on incorrect spellings of homophones these days. They’re is indeed a difference between these sorts of words, even though you’ll find that there always sounding the same. So pay attention! They’re is no excuse for making these kind of errors, is their?

And considering sentence fragments. So this is important. When writing sentences. Many sentences are fragments. Written sentences. When a prepositional phrase isn’t connected to an independent clause. And how anyone can possibly employ them is beyond my comprehension.

Jane told Joan that they would take her away and lock her up if she obfuscated her sentences with unclear pronoun references. Each person should work to the best of their ability to avoid confusion of pronouns, and also to make pronouns agree in number with their antecedent.

Faulty parallelism makes me want grammatical justice and to catch the perpetrator. In lists or comparisons, don’t mix nouns with infinitive verbs. Also, I’m begging you, when making parallelisms, make sure your verb tenses match. Joe seems to be having difficulty with the concept of parallelism, but John was the real culprit. In making mistakes like this, he not only broke many rules of the English language, but also was making himself look stupid.

The misplaced modifier is a grammatical error that breaks the rules which I find annoying.

Genuine errors in subject-verb agreement is hard for me to comprehend. The people that make these kinds of mistakes must uses their brain very little, if at all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

college memories

I just remembered something odd. At Biola they have this annual event where all the guys drink as much milk as they can... gallons and gallons... until they are all puking all over the place. And then you can smell it for a while on the grass where they have the milk-drinking contest. These kinds of school traditions can be so weird.

I don't know what made me think of that.

Anyway, despite these strange rituals, Biola is cool.

There are other things I remember besides boys drinking milk.

One time Dr. Reynolds stepped out of the elevator in Sutherland and said to me, "Every time these elevator doors open, I think that maybe this time I'll be in Narnia."

And Libby and I used to take Lucky Charms from the caf and eat them on her futon. I liked to steal her marshmellow bits.

And Dr. Sanders said, "It's weird to see Moothart and Palmer walking around, and they're both girls!"

Sometimes I'd babysit for the Reynolds. Let me tell you, Dr. Reynolds' kids are wicked smart.

Justin used to make origami things during Torrey sessions. At the end of the year he gave me a box of things he had made. I have 200 paper cranes hanging from the ceiling in my bedroom now, and 79 of them are ones that he made.

My roommates Sheri and Rebecca were cool people. I remember walking arm-in-arm with Sheri to the grocery store late one night and having the best sort of talk with her. And I remember lying on Becka's bed and just talking. Becka was always such a generous and kind person. Having roommates can be such a nice thing. Later Becka dated Isaac, who was another cool person at Biola. He's smart and funny. He and I used to have this inside joke about Annie Sullivan, only now I can't remember it at all. I don't remember how it got started, or why it was funny, or even what it was exactly - I just remember we'd be hanging out, and somehow everything led to Annie Sullivan somehow, and we'd laugh.

Courtney was my wonderful friend with a squishy nose. I'd go hang out in Alpha with Courtney and her roommate Amy, and we listened to Disney songs and stuff. And all of us girls used to watch The Princess Diaries a lot that year. Fun times. "Here is YOUR friendship charm; I'm taking it off, and it's going in the dirt!" "Princess! You're the most popular girl in school! Everyone wants to take your picture! Everyone wants to be your best friend!"

We were in a play that year. A musical, actually. Kinda embarassing in some ways to think about it now... I sang and danced. I always forgot which lines were mine and which were Libby's. I liked being in Theater. I liked my friends at Biola. Yeah, that was fun.

Katie and Bethany were good friends too. Katie made me a beautiful blanket. And she writes wonderful letters. Bethany seems mild-mannered at first, but she's actually one of the wittiest, funniest people I know.

We went and saw The Fellowship of the Ring, a whole bunch of us together, and at the moment when Bilbo gets all nasty and lunges for the ring on Frodo's neck, Lem screamed like a girl and threw a whole bucket of popcorn over his head, showering everyone behind him in the theater. On purpose, of course. It was so funny. Also, I tried to superglue Libby's ears that day, but it didn't really work out. I have a picture of her, with her ear all red and sore, and she's looking at me so reproachfully. I like Libby and I miss her, and it makes me sad that we're never together anymore.

All the Torrey tutors were so funny.

And first semester I was in the Sayers group, before I changed to Tolkien second semester. Everybody was so super. I wish now that I knew some of them better. Sayers and Tolkien people both, I guess. I wish I knew Laurel from Sayers better. We emailed a lot in that summer after freshman year, but then I transferred to Wheaton. And Becca... she's smart and funny. We had a Sayers girls party one night. That was fun.

I liked reading Athanasius a lot. And Augustine. Really, I liked basically everything we read except maybe Ovid. Once we were reading a play aloud and Brian stood up on the stair railing in that building where we were reading (I forget what it's called now) and towered over Dustin and we were laughing and Dustin didn't see him. Heh. And we read Homer's Odyssey aloud under the tree in the Reynolds' front yard.

And I think that through that year I learned some things... I learned a lot of facts, but then over it all and through it all and in the midst of it all, I learned to love God more.

People talked about changing the world for Christ and winning the culture back and totally changing the world, and I wanted to do that. Now, I sometimes think it's more than a little unlikely. I guess I'm a little bit cynical now; or maybe just a little bit more realistic. That year I was so romantic about it... not romantic like mushy boy-girl love, but romantic in the breathing in deeply of salt air and flinging out your arms and dancing in the sand on the beach sort of way, or singing hymns and feeling your heart swell, or reading C. S. Lewis and feeling your soul positively thrill. That kind of romantic... that's the kind of romantic I am.

So this started out with a sudden, random memory of milk-guzzling Biola boys, and turned into a lengthy memoir-sharing-session.

I liked Biola. But I'm glad I don't go there anymore. Growing up is different for everybody, you know? And maybe harder for some than for others. Figuring things out. Learning who you are and then learning to be a better person and grow in the ways God wants you to grow. We all have to live and learn. And if I had stayed at Biola, people might have made it hard for me to be able to live with my mistakes and keep becoming who God wanted me to be. I guess you could say I didn't feel like I had room to grow and change.

So I'm glad I don't go there now... but sometimes I miss the way things were and the way things could have been. Of course there are the what-ifs... what if I had stayed.

As each little chapter of my life draws to a close and a new one begins... I have to start over in a lot of ways. Biola-friends know nothing of my life at Wheaton and Gordon. Wheaton-friends know nothing of my life at Biola and Gordon. Gordon-friends know nothing of my life at Biola and Wheaton. But all of this has been a part of me, you know? And important to me. I miss so many things sometimes, but I can't explain it to anyone or tell anyone what I am feeling. In some ways, my life is a bit fragmented on a year-by-year basis, and that is difficult.

But it is okay.

My life is a journey that is ever-exciting. Biola, Wheaton, Gordon... it's all just part of a much larger story. And I think to myself...

What will tomorrow bring?

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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I have now finished three years of college.

I got home last Friday. JetBlue is pretty nice. Being home is pretty nice, too.

The night before my flight, everything in my room was already packed up, so I just stayed up all night with Kate and Nathan. We got into the locked classroom in the locked music building (hehe) and watched The Music Man on the projector screen. Yeah, we're dorks... but it was fun. (One night a few weeks ago we stayed up all night and went to the beach around 5:00 am for the sunrise. That was fun, too.)

So after getting home, on Saturday I went to hear my teacher perform in Reno with the Reno Chamber Orchestra. He played the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Ohh, I was impressed. He's so fabulous. Before the concert, he came out into the audience and chatted with me for a bit, and afterwards, I stopped to talk to him while he was signing autographs. I couldn't help feeling a bit, well, special... this amazing violinist is my teacher. I am so lucky.

The conductor of the RCO was pretty amusing to watch. Also, he provided extra sound effects... kinda Glenn Gould-ish, if you know what I mean. Very entertaining.

Almost all of my friends from school are in Europe right now, either for the choir tour or the wind ensemble tour. Hey, dudes... I want to go to Europe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


theory composition project

perform a bunch of other people's compositions

psychology final exam

conducting final exam

pack up

go home

Wow. The year is basically over.

It's been a pretty good one.

I got my jury sheets back. I'm pretty happy with how things went.

My composition turned out pretty fun. It had to employ specific 20th century techniques, and I enjoyed writing it. I ended up including spoken parts for specific people, spoken from their seats in the audience. It was titled, "In Memoriam: A Tribute to Theory with PJB" (PJB being my professor). It was pretty funny, which was my intent. I wasn't trying to say something deeply theological, or to bring world peace or racial reconciliation... but to make people laugh. Which it definitely did.

Going home on Friday. I'm going to miss people over the summer... I like my friends.

But oh, it will be good to be home.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

voice class final performance

last orchestra concert

theory exam

videotaped conducting test

violin lesson

psychology quiz

voice class journal and essays

last theory lab sight-singing quiz


theory composition project

perform a bunch of other people's compositions

psychology final exam

conducting final exam

pack up

go home

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

It's been raining lightly for over a day now. Rain can be nice, and can make a person feel rather poetic. But I didn't feel poetic as I walked on the sidewalks around midnight this morning, and then again around 4, and had to walk in funny hop-scotch-ish patterns to avoid stepping on huge, nasty worms. If they have a snowshoveling crew that comes out when it snows, why can't they have a wormshoveling crew to come out when it rains?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Last night I played as part of a string quartet for a performance of Bach's Cantata No. 80, Vaughan-Williams' "On Wenlock Edge," and Vaughan-Williams Five Mystical Songs. It was fun! :)

This afternoon is our chamber music concert. I'm playing a Beethoven sonata with Jen, and The Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky with all of us Stravinsky peeps. :) So now I just have to get through one more performance this weekend and then I can start studying for my psychology exam tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2004

I hate the violin.

I'm bad at everything I try to do.

I miss my family so much.

I wish I could go home for Easter.
Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould

"One does not play the piano with one's fingers; one plays the piano with one's mind."

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This may be one of the best websites I've ever seen. Canon Dale Owen is a genius. A progressive genius, might I add. Go, and read his website. Read his blog of peace, too. If only we could all be more like Canon Owen, this world would be a better (and more groovy) place.

Here's a sample of his enlightened thinking:

Today I saw a flower. It was a little flower, smaller than all the rest. I knelt down before it and said, "Hey there, little flower. God is groovy." The flower waved in the soft breeze and I felt a glow of self-awareness. Not just the flower was groovy. I was groovy. Look at what I had done! How many people notice a flower and speak to it? How many people take time to smell the roses, let alone commune with them? The wonderful thing is this. . . you too can be groovy. You too can speak to the flowers and learn to be groovy.

And one more sample:

Today I heard a young man say, "You don't understand me" to his mother in the grocery line. This lad wanted some candy. The mother stood there over him with all the authority given to her by years of oppressive culture and said, "No." How I dread those words! I went forward in the line and put a gentle hand on the lad's shoulder, "Here, young person. Here is your candy. God wants you to have it." He looked at me with tears streaming down his face, "Thank you, mister." he said. "No thanks to me," I said. "God never says no to you."

The lady in line began to become upset. "You will spoil the boy!" she cried. "Yes," I said, "just as God spoils us with rainbows, roses, and kittens." She looked at me with incomprehension and took away the candy. "No." she said. The boy understood. He began to cry. How I wished I could have helped him, but the state protects abusive parents.

So my message to you today, gentle reader: Go eat the candy. Eat it all. Eat until you are sated. There is no heavenly Mommy saying, "No." Our warm Earth Mother Below says, "Eat and be gods."

Amen and amen. Canon Dale Owen is my hero.

(Of course, you should definitely click his links JMNR: The Satan and Why We Fight as well...)

Friday, March 26, 2004

I sometimes feel as though the world is crumbling about me. Will everything that I hold to be true fall? Can the Truth fail? Dr. Reynolds spoke of the twilight of the West, but with people like Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, Nancy Pearcey, J.P. Moreland... I thought it couldn’t happen. Not really. But perhaps it is happening after all.

And what shall I do? He trains my hands for battle, that my arms may bend a bow of bronze… but what am I trained for, really? I’m just a college student studying the violin in Massachusetts. I want to fight… for truth, for life, for marriage, for justice, for goodness, for right. But all I really can do is practice my violin each day, do my homework, tell my family that I love them, study for exams, work hard in rehearsals.

September 11, 2001. I am awakened by a phone call. The twin towers have fallen from a terrorist attack. I feel numb; life seems surreal. I pray, and read Plato and write Pull Questions.

2001. 2002. 2003. Osama. Iraq. Afghanistan. War. War! I have never lived in a time of war. People I know are being sent. My cousin goes. War. There are angry people, too, and protests. After a while, I sometimes forget to pray about it all. I practice my violin.

2002-2003. A beautiful young girl is snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night. People are frightened, worried, devastated… but still hoping. Her parents won’t give up the search. Months of fear and uncertainty pass. In the meantime, I pray, study, and practice my violin. The searches lessen. A new story replaces this one on the daily news. People are beginning to forget.

March 12, 2004. Nine people, all my age and younger, are dead in a house in Fresno. Some of them are just babies. I cry and call my Mom. I pray, and do homework, and practice.

2004. Gay marriage. Crisis and division in the Church. I don’t know what to do. I do my homework and practice my violin. But I want to do more. What can I do? Something...there has to be something more.

I think I feel a bit discouraged about…everything. The world.


March 12, 2003. The reports come pouring in… I can hardly believe it… I had almost forgotten… but now, Elizabeth Smart has been found and returned to her family! She’s alive! She’ll be okay! My heart swells within me.

December 14, 2003. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him!” Wow.

That swelling of my heart within my chest… that feeling of something grand and wonderful in spite of terror and sorrow in the world… it’s hope.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Today in music theory I gave a presentation on neoclassicism. I think it went well. My professor said a lot of nice things afterwards. Including that I should think about being a professor someday.

Sometimes someone tucks a dream into your mind and expands your horizons and makes you feel like they believe you can really do things. It's nice when that happens.

I'm happy.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Final Roar"

"Even though there is an element of isolationism inherent in the whole concept of a Christian college, I believe the concept can be justified, both for the church and for the nation. It can be justified if, and it is a very big "if," the graduates of Christian colleges can go out and make very special, very positive, and very measurable impact on our society by being able to offer distinctively Christian solutions at every level of that society.... The bar for Christian college graduates must be set very high because the investment in them is very high....

"When one understands that these colleges [speaking specifically of those in the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities] graduate more than thirty thousand seniors each year, one can begin to understand the level of their potential effectiveness and influence. Thirty thousand each year! This amounts to a not-so-small army of some of the best and the brightest minds of the American churches' young people. They are sent out each year to do battle for "truth, justice, and the American way," after four years of what should be the best education, the best training, and the best motivation the churches' schools can give them....

"Really, the only way for these thirty thousand yearly graduates of the Christian colleges not to disappear or concede defeat is for them to become deeply involved in a meaningful cause--to break away from the mundane and the trivial and to venture out into the exhilarating atmosphere of risk. Theodore Roosevelt said it so well almost a hundred years ago: 'Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.'...

"I believe the current prevailing atmosphere at most Christian colleges is a defensive one. Most parents, churches, and supporting denominations send their students to these campuses in hopes of protecting them from the evils of a society they see as completely alien to their values and beliefs. Their highest aspiration for them seems to be to get them back as unscathed as possible, hopefully with a spouse with a similar belief system. There is nothing really wrong with this, except that it ignores the admonition to be 'salt' in our world and to obey the command of the Great Commission. There is just far too much fortress mentality and not enough 'Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war.' As a result, most graduates are neither inspired nor equipped to go out to do the very tough work of influencing the nation with Christian truth-claims. Our country is poorer as a result.

"The mission statement at my Christian college alma mater says the college exists to produce servant leaders. Some sort of servant-leader language is probably a part of most Christian college mission statements. Finding it much easier to produce servants than leaders, however, Christian institutions of higher education pay only lip service to any authentic leadership emphasis. Producing leaders is very expensive, not only in terms of the investment dollars involved, but also in terms of plain hard work. It takes diligence, attention to detail, intellectual rigor, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. It takes the kind of faculty dedication that was once the Christian college norm, but which is now in increasingly short supply. To produce leaders, Christian faculty cannot 'mail it in,' and academic administrators must recruit professors who understand what this kind of commitment entails and who are dedicated to teaching and mentoring....

"Among the most vital tasks of the Christian college teacher/mentor/discipler is vision casting. Christian students need to know the possibilities of service at every level, including the leadership levels of all the professions. Some students need to be mentored toward becoming the best, most godly, most influential, and most productive kindergarten teachers posible. Some need to be encouraged to understand the possibility of becoming an equally proficient book or newspaper editor, or filmmaker, or corporate executive, or even secretary of state. We are much better at producing kindergarten teachers than we are at producting servant leaders in other areas of the arts, business, and the professions. We need to do so much better. This is not because good kindergarten teachers are not terribly needed, or because they are less valued than others who might be serving in a more prestigious role, but rather because all Americans, at every level, deserve the opportunity to see competent, caring, committed Christians, and the kind of truth and value judgments Christians are supposed to be offering. Unless our Christian families, churches, and educational institutions commit to this, we will continue to be far less than we should be....

"It is important to understand that the service I am discussing here is not the professional ministry--the pastorate, a foreign missions assignment, full-time work with a parachurch organization, the Salvation Army, and so on. Rather, it is the service to which every Christian is called as he or she pursues whatever career in which they might be engaged. The Christian physician, lawyer, politician, scientist, publisher, athlete, teacher, plumber, builder, soldier, housewife, or salesperson must see their career not as an end in itself but as an entry point for service to Christ and ministry to his creation. By being there in a particular job setting, Christians have built-in contact with their peers on the job. As we perform our jobs to the very best of our abilities and demonstrate genuine caring for our coworkers, we win a hearing for the things we believe, the ideas and values that inform our Christian faith and which we believe will benefit our colleagues and our country. We must be certain that no opportunity to offer these values goes unfulfilled. We must be committed and ready... Our country deserves it, and our faith demands it."

- Bob Briner, Final Roar

(excerpts from Chapter 3: Raising the Bar on Christian Higher Education)
Practice, practice, practice... I need to practice more. Last week's lesson, before Spring break, went well. We worked on a Beethoven sonata, and my teacher hugged me and said that working with me now is like working with a different student than the one that came to him in the fall. (As my Dad said, "I hope that's a good thing"... but yes, I think I am making a teeny bit of slow but steady progress.)

Speaking of my Dad, I talked to him on the phone last night for over an hour. And just for the record, I'd like to say that my Dad is one of the five most amazing people in this world. So, my Dad and I talked about my life, about school, about my future, about his life, his business, about my family, about abortion and gay marriage and President Bush and America and the world, about education, about Harvard, about Christianity, and the Church, and God... and oh, I just love my Dad and my whole family so much.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I am now back from Story's house in Virginia via Janna's house in Delaware. Time to update my little map thingy, since on the trip I went through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and PA. Some of which I had been to before, but some of which were new to me. Oh, what fun. I had a really great time. Sunday afternoon I went into D.C. with Story and her little sibs. We went to the National Air and Space Museum and a museum of art, and we had a picnic lunch on the grass right in the middle of everything... we could see the Washington Monument, the Capitol building, etc! I just had such a good time being with Story and her siblings... cooking, cleaning, reading to kids, playing with kids, holding kids... it was great. Then on Tuesday I took a bus back up to Delaware and stayed at Janna's house that night before coming back to Gordon. She spent Wednesday morning driving me through Philly and showing me some of the sights (well, since there's not much to see in Delaware, haha Janna!), which was super fun. Oh, and I also found time to start Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (finally!) while I was at Story's house, and then I finished it on the bus ride back to Delaware and the drive back to campus with Janna. Yay!

So here's the new map. I might be forgetting some states I've been to, though.

create your own personalized map of the USA

Thursday, February 26, 2004


From Janna's blog a few days ago:

Calvin, our Leader and Friend

I kind of have this Calvinist war going on with this mean violinist who's doctrinist. I mean, I guess I'm doctrinist too, but I'm RIGHT. So, to fuel the flames, I've decided the following things:

-my firstborn will be named Calvin (if male) and Calvina (if female- or maybe Calvinette- or maybe Cauvina or Jeana- or Gèneve- there're a lot of options)

-I'm going to try to write an editorial for my school newspaper in which I decisively prove that Calvinism and capitalism are absolute goods and inextricably co-dependent

-I'm going to develop some sort of clever sticker or stencil with a tulip on it and subversively spray it all over campus à la Twelve Monkeys (focusing on the area around a certain dorm and the music building)

-I'm will hire my handy-dandy Bible major (code-name: JoJo) to develop some Calvinist tracts which I will cleverly distribute by stuffing them in copies of praise CDs in the bookstore, and in Veggie Tales tapes

-I'm going to start an aggressive new campus ministry which kidnaps and reprograms Arminians via cult-breaking techniques (TULIP: Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Pseudo-Christians)

-I shall coerce my small but dedicated group of music major friends (hmm: note to self- make some music major friends who are not violently opposed to Calvinism) to write new, appropriately Reformed lyrics to the idiotic praise songs sung in chapel and get my smart compsci hacker friends to insert the new lyrics on the chapel overheads

¡Viva la revolución calvinista! ¡Muerte a los oppresores del Reform!

Comrades, if you have further ideas on how to further our great cause, please allow our God to predestine your click on the comments link. Persevere, Saints, persevere!

And my comments:

I CHOSE to click the comments button.

Yes, name your first son Calvin. Everyone will think you're naming him after Calvin a la Calvin and Hobbes, and he'll probably start behaving like that Calvin, too. I, meanwhile, will have named my charming, well-behaved firstborn son Jacob.

Oh, you're just doing the tulip stickers/stencils as a cheap version of my friends who carved tulips into all their furniture. If you're not committed enough to carve tulips into all your furniture and all of school property and pay the fines later, you must not really believe this Calvinism doctrine.

I'm stealing your new TULIP idea. It's really remarkably clever. See, it'll be even funnier when non-Calvinists have a group called TULIP. It's ironic! It's clever! It's fabulous! TULIP: Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Pseudo-Christians! That is, obviously, as much as to say... Liberating Ignorant Calvinists! Or we could even call it Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Predestinationalists... that works too.

Well, I thought that was funny.

You should all go read her blog; she's always making snide remarks about me! She's ill-mannered and obnoxious, but honestly, what would you expect of someone with her theological persuasions?!