Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I think I'm having a difficult week.

I've have a sinus infection and an ear infection so painful sometimes I think putting an ice pick in one ear and out the other to relieve the pressure sounds like a genuinely good idea. Sometimes my left ear hears pitches 1/2 step lower than the true pitches I hear in my right ear - and not only on the fundamental, but also on all the overtones. It's a dissonant world. Other times I put medicinal drops in my left ear and it becomes numb. Then I hear a roaring ocean and a high-pitched, shrill ringing sound. The entire experience is generally unpleasant.

More importantly, my Grandpa passed away yesterday.

Was it yesterday? My concept of time is distorted this week. Everything is happening so fast, and so slowly.

I said more about my ear infection and less about my Grandpa, but that is not in any way because I consider the silly ear infection more significant. I don't know what to say. I can almost feel the cool backyard patio of Grandma and Grandpa's Southern California home beneath my bare feet. Was it twenty years ago that I ran across that patio into Grandpa's hug, when he wrapped his arms around me and said, "Hi, doll"?

Was it only two weeks ago that FavoriteBoy and I visited California and said goodbye to him, knowing it would be for the last time? He stood up from his chair, smiled for a picture - the last of him and me together - and hugged me goodbye. I turned to go - went halfway to the door, in fact - and then darted back for another hug before he sat. I think he saw my eyes fill with tears.

No tears where he is now.

I am directing a string ensemble at a music camp all week. It's nice to be busy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

BCP, Please

The problem with having church services in which pastors and other speakers are permitted to talk "off the cuff" is that you end up hearing things like this:

"There will be a baptism service later this summer, so if you've not yet been baptized, consider coming. It's, uh, always a good time."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eight Limbs

I came across an interesting article today: a toddler had surgery last fall to remove the extra set of arms and legs she was born with. The limbs belonged to a twin fetus who stopped developing, and was absorbed by the surviving girl. Read the article here.

Isn't modern medicine amazing?

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Way to a Man's Heart...

If you were to live in an apartment with one closet just three feet wide, you might find yourself requiring additional clothing storage space. So it was that FavoriteBoy and I purchased a garment rack (some assembly required), and the following conversation took place:

SarahMarie: Oh, let's not read the directions!
FavoriteBoy: Oh baby, you know the way into my heart.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I have a strong desire to create and cultivate; an enthusiasm for greens, flowers, and vegetables that I've had since childhood. This enthusiasm couldn't be squelched even by the guy who forgot to water all my small, pale green seedlings struggling up through the soil of their egg carton homes. While I did return from California to four egg cartons of brown, crispy plants, I planted fresh seeds the very next day.

I'm determined, you see. Never mind the fact that we don't have space for a real garden - there is an alleyway by our apartment, after all, fenced in and belonging to no one but us. Never mind that the soil is rocky and difficult; it can be cultivated.

FavoriteBoy and I went to Home Depot this evening. Now I have four egg cartons of seedlings, two purchased shasta daisy plants, and three cherry tomato plants.

If such things can be such a delight for me, can you even imagine how God felt when He first filled the earth with things that grow?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Okay, so some of my food creations can be a little unusual. And while I usually find them delicious, there's no guaranteeing that others would reach the same verdict. But this particular recipe is something my Mom has sampled, and she approves heartily, so I feel confident sharing it with you, dear readers. Not only is it tasty, it's nutritious!

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Makes one sandwich; just multiply the recipe if you're feeding a family

1/2 c. chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and mashed with a fork
(you can also take the skins off if you want to)
1-2 T. Greek-style yogurt
(It's similar to mayonnaise in consistency, but fat-free. I use Fage 0%)
1-2 t. low-fat mayonnaise

Combine ingredients, and add any of the following according to your taste:
Chopped celery
Diced onion
Sliced green onion
Chopped dill pickles
etc. (Think along the lines of whatever you like in tuna salad or chicken salad)

Add salt and pepper to taste, along with any other herbs or spices you like. Combine everything and spread on a slice of bread. Add lettuce, spinach, sprouts, etc. Top with a second slice of bread and enjoy!

P.S. The lovely checkered napkin you see in the foreground is one of my sewing creations.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fifteen Years Later...

I feel it may be worthwhile to announce that only fifteen years after its acclaimed release, I have now watched the movie Jurassic Park. Fifteen years ago (at the tender age of ten) I was not permitted to see it; my parents rightly labelled it in the "too scary" category - which meant I missed out on the fright-inducing slumber parties of that year and the years following while Jurassic Park remained the coolest movie to watch.

The only reason I can think of that I waited so long to watch it is that my parents' rules live on, embedded deep within my psyche. Jurassic Park will forever be a movie Palmer kids simply aren't allowed to watch.

Sorry, Mom and Dad... I've started down a slippery slope. Next thing you know, I'll be watching Forrest Gump and Titanic.

Summer Fruit

Apricots, watermelon, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, plums, nectarines, strawberries, blackberries... I could eat nothing but fruit all summer long and be the happiest girl in Massachusetts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

25 Things I'm Thankful For

My cousin Allegra and I both have June birthdays - when we were kids we'd send each other "birthday buddy" emails around the same time every year. This year for her 28th birthday, Allegra blogged a list of 28 things she's thankful for. I love the idea, and although my birthday was this past Tuesday, I'm hopping on the boat - a little late.

25 Things I'm Thankful For (for my 25th birthday):

1. Nathan, my husband and best friend (who got me a KitchenAid immersion blender and a set of pizza pans for my birthday!)

2. Our family members, all of whom we wish we could see more often.

3. Our wonderful friends

4. Our cozy, low-rent, stand-alone apartment. With no neighbors to worry about, Nathan can play the Steinways as loud as he likes, and I can play my violin - and teach from my home - any time of day.

5. Crossword puzzles for those quiet moments when I'm not busy

6. My four grandparents, who always have a hug ready and a fascinating story to tell. I've been blessed to know them.

7. Warm weather - I always feel better in the summer!

8. Reusable grocery bags - bigger, stronger, and more eco-friendly than plastic or paper!

9. My gym membership - a one-time $50 payment has covered the past year, and will continue to guarantee me a workout facility for as long as Nathan is employed as an accompanist/coach at the college.

10. Kitchen gadgets, and my enthusiastic husband who buys them for me when he sees something "too cool to live without."

11. Summer cookouts

12. My iPod, which makes both workouts and long trips more enjoyable.

13. Apricots and raspberries... mmm.

14. Summer sales, like the four- and five- dollar shirts that cured my previous lack of short-sleeved clothing.

15. My sewing machine

16. Our toaster oven, which saves the day when you combine a husband who won't eat fresh fruits or veggies with that same husband's (quite reasonable) tendency to not want the oven used during the hot summer months.

17. Weekends

18. Living in a town where I can walk to all sorts of places both interesting and useful.

19. The big barrel of dirt that was given to me to use for planting out in the alley beside our apartment. (Not so thankful for the guy who agreed to water my egg cartons full of seedlings in my absence last week, and killed them all!)

20. Blogs that keep me in touch with family and friends far away.

21. Air conditioning!

22. The beach I can walk to in just five minutes.

23. The faith I have, and the knowledge of a life beyond this one where I'll see people again someday...

24. Music, and the friends it makes for us, the powerful memories it holds, and the joy it brings.

25. Jobs and opportunities. Recently at a gig a woman asked me what I did to "pay the bills." It's no guarantee for a musician to be able to say that she pays the bills solely with the fruits of her musical endeavors, but that is exactly what I do. Another woman at that gig interjected in response, "Sarah plays every gig on the North Shore!" It gave me pause to remember yet again how fortunate I've been since graduating. I have lots of private students. I conduct a wonderful children's orchestra through a larger organization that has provided me with learning opportunities as well as teaching opportunities. I get calls to play for orchestras, shows, weddings, and other ceremonies. The terrified graduate of two years ago with a "useless" degree is playing the violin and teaching for a living - just as she always hoped to.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apartment Love

I have a bright, eager young student named Charlie. Charlie takes lessons from me on both violin and piano, and is the most well-mannered, enthusiastic young student a teacher could hope for. An imaginative kid, he loves reading, history, science, mechanical things, his dog, the great outdoors, and music. And I've never seen him without a smile on his face. As if all that weren't enough to win my heart, recently we had the following conversation:

Charlie: You own this whole house, right?

Sarah: Actually, we just rent this second-story apartment; the downstairs is a workshop that belongs to a pipe organ builder.

Charlie: Oh! I thought this was a house, not an apartment. If this were a house it would be the most perfect place to live. I just think it's so beautiful on the inside and on the outside.

I surveyed the yellowed old wood paneling on the walls, and the crowded room that holds our two grand pianos, small dining table, four chairs, computer desk, stereo speakers, bookshelves, couch, and television. While I love our cozy apartment and believe it is the perfect home for us right now, I often worry that others see the flaws - far from the beauty and perfection that Charlie sees.

I love him for seeing it the way he does.


Last night as I played in a string quartet for a graduation ceremony, numerous people stopped to snap a photograph of our ensemble. I wonder how many strangers have photos of me tucked away in their albums of memories by now? I've played weddings, memorial services, graduations, shows, and a myriad of other events. People always want a photo of the musicians. Somewhere in the back pages of wedding albums of people I don't know, there I am...

Strange thought.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

There And Back Again

I haven't blogged in a week simply because I haven't been home in almost as much time. On Monday FavoriteBoy and I embarked upon a very last-minute and entirely unplanned trip to California to visit my family. It was a wonderful visit in so many ways and I'll always be glad that we were able to re-arrange our schedules and make the time to go.

The plane flight back was notably less wonderful; FavoriteBoy and I spent a five hour flight separated from one another by one woman who wouldn't switch seats because she preferred to lean on her right elbow rather than her left, and she felt she could do so more comfortably from her assigned seat than from mine. Sigh.

We arrived back in Massachusetts this morning, and in keeping with our whirlwind lives, we're already back into the swing of things - FavoriteBoy is in Boston playing organ and piano at a wedding, and I taught make-up lessons this afternoon.

I plan to post pictures soon - I got to spend five days playing with my nephews, and they are too cute to be left to the imagination.