Thursday, November 29, 2007

The pits

Today I had a dream come true. No, some hot guy did not propose to me. No, I did not acquire omniscience. I was still judged by the color of my skin and not by the content of my character (well, maybe not) and I did not suddenly become independently wealthy.

But, the most realistic of my dreams came true when the Utah Symphony called me up and asked me to play for the opera in January: Tosca by Puccini, my favorite opera composer. For those of you who may not know, I absolutely love playing for operas. It's a perfect mix of music, drama and spectacle, topped off by the wonderful feeling of anonymity that comes from playing in an orchestra pit. There's something so relieving about people not being able to see me when I'm playing. It seems kind of silly, since the reason people usually go to concerts is to hear a performance not see it. But I usually like feeling invisible so pit playing is perfect for me.

So instead of having to wear a silly costume and wear pounds of makeup like this:

Or be uber dramatic like this:

I get to sit in a dark, cold pit like this:

I'd imagine that a professional orchestra opera pit would be a little less relaxed than the ones I experienced in my college days. Those usually included lots of snacks and goofing off. You never know, though. Musicians of any caliber can be kind of strange.

And here's a picture that came up when I did a Google image search for "opera diva". I don't understand it but it sure is interesting.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I have a great body

This is hardly new information for any of you, but I work a lot of hours. My bank account is happy, but my soul is suffering. I've been having a couple of especially bad weeks--weeks which include 14-16 hour days and staying up all night staring at a flickering computer screen. I HATE those kind of weeks. A lot. And every time I pull out of those weeks I'm amazed that I'm still physically functioning.

I don't have a particularly nice-looking body, but it sure does its job well. I find it hard to believe that I can have days where my major source of calories comes from Smarties (thank you, Springville Public Library), or Pepsi and crackers, or whatever else I can lay my hands on, and not come away with some kind of serious illness. Maybe someday all those artificial flavorings and dyes and preservatives and partially hydrogenated whatevers will conglomerate in some nasty mass in my liver or kidney and then I'll rue the day I was so abusive to my body, but for now it's still trudging along and I'm sure grateful for it.

More funny titles

Maybe this is getting old for all of you, but there's really not much more I can do to entertain myself at work.

Favorite titles:
  • The common sense book of drinking
  • Hopes and fears: scenes from the life of a spinster
  • Metric units to unite the world
  • The evolution of the snob
  • The mule on the minaret
  • Festal postlude (which isn't that funny, except that I first read it as "Fetal postlude")
  • The sacred and profane love machine
  • The naked bishop
  • Single and human
  • A short history of fingers
  • Faith, love and seaweed
  • St. Anne's gut
  • The sacred circle of the hula hoop
  • Homework and sweating

And my very favorite:

  • The golden rules of gynecology

For some fiction books, the digital record gives a short plot summary. Reading some of them leads me to think that maybe it would be better to not try to summarize the plot and let the reader be surprised.

  • While a school group is visiting the great temple at Nara, one young Japanese boy becomes separated from the Group, and, while finding his way back to the bus, helps a lost deer and two lost North Americans.
  • A little boy of India, who loves his pet kid too well to let his father sell him, becomes a successful flute accompanist to the small goat's dancing.
  • A twelve-year-old girl and two unusual friends conspire to prevent a retired sea captain from being sent to a home.
  • A moose-child goes north looking for other moose-children, but on the way he finds other playmates right in his own forest.

If this post makes you jealous of my job, the company is hiring in December.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

If you squint your eyes, my job can be seen as entertaining

To keep myself entertained at work, I keep a list of out-of-the-ordinary titles and authors that I see while going through the card catalogs. Here are a few of my top picks.

Interesting author names:

  • Alphonso Elkin Cumberbatch
  • Sir George Dancer
  • Hugh Huger
  • George Newt Best
  • Hugh Playfair
  • Alois Alzheimer
  • Charles Edwin Heartstill
  • Jesse W. Peebles
  • D.S. Rumph
  • Someone with the last name of Boobyer

Interesting/weird/funny titles of books or articles:

  • Know your Oklahoma fishes
  • The world of the wild turkey
  • New ways with partridges
  • A ruffian in feathers: the English sparrow
  • The house sparrow: the avian rat
  • Canary culture for amateurs
  • Monthly hints to canary fanciers
  • Giddiness of cloven-hoofed game
  • Pheasants and their enemies
  • How to live with a parakeet

Funniest publisher:

  • Kinki University

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm very sorry for taking so long to post, which I almost spelled "poast". It's hard to feel like writing on a computer when that's all I do at my job, but that's a sorry excuse. I posted two new, very wordy entries with no pictures today (three, I guess, including this one) and have some more in mind for another day. I'll try to do better in the future.

And for those who don't know already, I got another job at the Springville Library. It's ultra part-time so it won't interfere with my other job, and will give me a source of library work with human interaction. Imagine that! I haven't started yet because I got hired right before my surgery and have obviously been out of commission, but hopefully I can start this coming week.

One book a week.....ish

When I first started my job in mid-July I was thrilled to have extra time to read. I suppose I had plenty of "extra" time to read when I was unemployed and sitting at home all day, but I was somehow more motivated by having a schedule to use my time off to broaden (aka use) my mind.

I've amassed quite a collection of books from various book sales and used book stores, always buying books with the most genuine of interest but rarely actually reading them. Mostly this was due to time constraints, but it's really easy to get out of the habit of reading--out of the habit of viewing reading as a top priority leisure activity and not one that you get around to when there's nothing good to watch on TV or your computer is out of commission.

All my books were packed in boxes (and most still are...) so I decided to unpack just one box and read something from that. The first book I read was Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, an author I had heard so much about (which was why I bought the book in the first place) but had never read anything she wrote. I usually don't read stuff by contemporary authors, but I enjoyed her writing style and the story itself. The most basic of summaries: a woman in her late 20s returns to her hometown in northern Arizona for one year to teach at her old high school and look after her ailing father. Mostly it was a phychological reconciliation of her adult perception of her childhood experiences and ideas with the truth of how things really were. Mostly. It's really hard to give the basic premise of a book in a couple of sentences. Anyway, it was good.

Next came A Room With a View by E.M. Forester, which I will not try to summarize but will say that I enjoyed it immensely, especially because I've been on an Italy kick lately. After that, or in the middle of that, came Harry Potter 7, which I read in about 12 hours. I'm sure I have nothing to say about it which has not been said already, but I was impressed with the thoroughness with which Rowling tied everything up. She really did know how she was going to end the series when she started it. I am in no way any kind of Harry Potter fanatic. I've read all the books but I have not memorized characters' lines, I have difficulties even remembering who all the characters are when they're referred to later, and I can only remember a few of the most important spells/charms, and most of the credit for that knowledge can go to my dear nephews. So I don't really feel like I'm in a place to give any kind of informed critique of the book. Like I need to.

This was all followed by The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, who has a special kind of depressing bleakness all his own. I started out this book disliking it intensely, mostly due to the title character and his idiocy, which seemed contagious. I grudgingly slogged through the first half and then, wonder of wonders, I began to like it. I liked it in the way that you like someone who maybe doesn't have a lot of likable traits, but you begin to understand them and appreciate them over time.

I foolishly tried to follow that book with For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway, but that didn't work. I just couldn't get into it. So now I'm happily reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, a very interesting and heartbreaking read. I've never thought so much about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family and privileged upbringing.

Do not read this if...

Ok, I used to have a big long post about a surgery I had in September. But now a lot more people are reading this blog and it seemed kind of weird to have all that personal body function-type information out for anyone to see. So if I know you and you care to hear about why I have a great 4" scar, let me know and I'll tell you. Otherwise, you can be left to wonder.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Leslie lops her hair

I know my current hairstyle is very important to all my readers, so here's an update.

For the past year or so, I've been casually growing out my hair by default, meaning I've been too lazy or cheap to get it cut. Or maybe I was reluctant to get my hair cut while living in Michigan because of the bad hair cutting experience I had when I very first moved there. So, as usually happens when one doesn't cut one's hair, my hair had gotten pretty long (by my usual standards, anyway) and I decided last week that it was time for it to go.

Great Clips has always been my salon (can I use that word for Great Clips?) of choice, mostly because of the low price and the absence of older ladies with poofy hair, heavy perfume and long fingernails. I took along a picture of myself from a few years ago to give the girl an idea of what I wanted, but apparently she either had bad eyesight or a great imagination. With her scissors glinting in the fluorescent lights, she proceeded to cut my hair 20x shorter than I ever expected (or wanted) and in a style that has been puzzling me for a solid week. I can't look in the mirror without a sense of confusion and a useless attempt at trying to understand what she was thinking.

The good news is that I probably won't need another hair cut for a number of months, and I definitely use a lot less shampoo. Also, I don't have a lot of human contact so I guess I don't REALLY need to worry about looking like an idiot.

Thankfully, no pictures have been taking of me since I was divested of my hair and my pride, but this will give you an idea of what I look like:

Monday, July 16, 2007

First day of work

Yes, today was my first day as an employee of Backstage Library Works. It was pretty much as I expected it would be--tedious in a way but with a lot of information to learn. When I used to do some cataloging at the HBLL I never really got into it because it was pretty overwhelming--cataloging work is full of rules and millions of things to remember. In fact, I hated doing it because I never really felt like I was in control or really understood everything I was doing. It's hard to feel good about something when you feel incompetent, you know. But it's a lot better this time around, thank goodness. It helps to have even the smallest bit of background and I feel like I'm actually getting the rhyme and reason behind it all. Or maybe I'm just having a steep learning curve to start with and will hit a brick wall in a couple of days.

I'm also discovering a trait that has been fairly dormant in me up until now: competition. It's pretty different working for a company as opposed to a library--at least the kind of library I'm used to working in. There are incentives and bonuses and (yikes!) penalties. When our little training group (6 new employees) were let loose to work on our exercises, some strange little flame was lit in me and I was determined to be the first one done. I was, and then the supervisor asked me go help other people. It feels like I'm back in grade school. Is it possible for me to regress in maturity? That's a scary thought.

Some good news:
1. I can dress as casually as I want. 2. I rarely have to actually interact with humans. 3. When my training is done and I start on actual company projects, my work time is really flexible. I'll get a key card that will let me into the building any time I want, except Sundays. Eventually, I want to work four 10-hour days and have three-day weekends. We'll see how that goes. 4. When my training is done, I can also listen to music all day while I work. 5. The building is only about 7 miles away, so I'm hoping to ride my bike.

Some bad news:
1. My eyes are all wiggy from looking at a computer screen all day. 2. I'm not going to make a whole lot of money ($9.50/hour). 3. I may go insane.

That about wraps it up. Thanks to you all for your support and interest. Whatever sarcastic or cynical remarks I may throw around, I am VERY grateful to have a job, especially one that could be helpful to me in the long run.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Caution: Cringe-worthy news story ahead

Girl seriously injured by pool drain's suction

A 6-year-old girl who sat on an open drain in a wading pool lost part of her intestinal tract to the drain's powerful suction, her family said.

Abigail Taylor was injured in the wading pool on June 29, according to her family.

Her father, Scott Taylor, said the suction caused a 2-inch tear in Abigail's rectum and pulled out much of her small intestine. Doctors had to remove the part of her intestines that remained, according to the family's lawyer, Bob Bennett.

Abigail remained in intensive care at Children's Hospital on Thursday and appeared to be improving, Bennett said.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th!

Well, the 4th has come and gone and as far as I know there weren't even any wildfires caused by fireworks. I celebrated my independence in the traditional way by watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Elf. I also went to a large family picnic in Little Cottonwood Canyon and went to the Stadium of Fire fireworks with Andy. We decided to get as close as possible, so we found a good spot right outside the stadium by the baseball field, pretty much directly underneath the fireworks.

We waited for quite a while, during which time my patience may or may not have expressed itself thusly:

But eventually we were rewarded with a rather spectacular fireworks display. It was really pretty amazing being so incredibly close--my eardrums were pleasantly rumbled and it almost seemed like the really big ones were going to hit me in the face. I nearly didn't go, as every day I'm becoming more and more a geezer, but I'm glad I did in the end.

Whenever I go to a fireworks show, though, I can't help but wonder what it would be like if they were bombs instead of fireworks, or if I was afraid for my life instead of afraid of getting caught in a traffic jam on the way home. War is so far removed from my way of life, historically and geographically, and I don't think I can even imagine how it would be to have no home, or to be concerned for my life and the lives of my family members, or even just to not feel safe going about my life from day to day. I am so blessed to live in a safe, free land, no matter how little I deserve it or how long it will last.

Plasmapheresis and other bad ideas

Earlier this week I decided it was time to make a little money. So off to the plasma donation center I went, armed with multiple forms of ID, great veins, low blood pressure and the cleanest of clean sex and drug histories. A number of hours later, after a finger prick, a urine test, a complete physical and being asked at least four times a series of questions about AIDS, HIV, drugs, and having sex in Africa, I finally made it to the donor floor. I successfully pumped out my near-liter of blood, they spun off my plasma, then they began the process of returning my red blood cells. Apparently my veins aren't as great as I thought they were because instead of the blood going back into the vein from whence it came, it started to pool up under my skin in a big bubble, a rare (so they say) occurance called "infiltration". I finally got the nurse to realize that something was wrong and they decided to stick me in the other arm to see if they could get it to go in that vein. My right arm rebelled as well, infiltration occuring again although this time under closer supervision, so they had to keep my red blood cells. This meant two things: 1. I can't donate again for eight more weeks, and 2. I lost almost a liter of blood. The technicians were all really embarrassed and told me to stock up on juice boxes and cookies out in the lobby. I felt pretty awful after the whole thing. I guess blood is important after all. Personally, though, I think the whole process would have been much more successful if "Big Momma's House 2" hadn't been playing on the TV monitors.

So here are some pictures of the sweet bruises on my arms from my plasma donation debacle. They don't quite do justice to the beauty of the bruises, but it's the best I could do.

Other bad ideas: unemployment, taking the Indiana Jones series too seriously, unemployment, eating a large box of Apple Jacks in a small amount of time, unemployment, being at home alone all day, unemployment, etc.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And another thing

I forgot to share the news, which most of you already know, that I have my first subbing gig with the Utah Symphony in August. It's pretty cool, although the concert I'm playing for isn't much to talk about. It's a pops concert with Linda Ronstadt but hey, it's a foot in the door or a nose in the tent or something. If only Aaron Neville could be there too...

I've been keeping myself busy with various projects during this time of unemployment and seclusion. I'm finishing Mom's entertainment center, hauling dirt and very small rocks in a wheelbarrow, baking bread, tinkering around on the piano, painting my room and......becoming ambidextrous. I've been working on it here and there and my progress is almost imperceptible, but I have faith that I can achieve. Plus, think how much more popular I'll be on the dating scene when guys find out that I can write the lyrics to "Some Enchanted Evening" with BOTH HANDS.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ok ok ok

Fine, here's a new post. It's not like I'm out of school and jobless and have lots of time, you know.

So, I'm back in the ol' UT. I've been here for about a week and a half and I haven't been to see anyone I know or been out to do anything. I'm quite enjoying the solitude, I must admit, although I may be enjoying it a bit too much. I should probably get out more.

I'll be getting out tomorrow when I go to Provo for an interview at the Provo Library. The very thought of a job interview strikes an icy dagger of fear deep into my heart. Interviews are definitely a weakness with me. Maybe they'll be so entertained by my spoonerisms and creative word usage that they'll hire me as the library jester. Seriously, though, say a little prayer for me. I have a phone interview lined up for next week for a position at the HBLL as well, and will be turning in a resume to another library-type place later this week. I hate job searching. Why can't someone pay me to putter around the house and bake bread?

The drive out to Utah was very beautiful. To spice things up, we went down through Urbana-Champaign (to see Jenny and Spencer and Aaron Hill) then drove on I-70 through Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. Missouri and the eastern 2/3 of Kansas were much prettier and more interesting than I had imagined they would be. Our drive was full of rolling green hills and.....rolling green hills and, well, more rolling green hills. I was mostly glad it wasn't Nebraska (sorry to any Corn Huskers who may be reading this), which I've had my fill of driving across. The final third or so of Kansas got a little old, though, although the monotony was broken by a series of obviously hand-made signs for Prairie Dog Town. The signs boasted a number of attractions, not the least of which was the world's largest prairie dog, a six-legged steer, and Roscoe the miniature donkey.

We were tempted to stop and see what all the fuss was about, but it was getting dark and we were sick of Kansas at that point. If you'd like to read another traveller's humorous account of Prairie Dog Town, check out this link:

For a more serious article, go here:

So we got into Denver quite late that night after about sixteen hours on the road. We spent the next day in the city. My favorite part was going the mammoth-est REI I've ever seen. So many opportunities for coveting. The day after that we drove on I-70 through the mountains to Rifle, at which point we turned off onto a highway which took us to Meeker, then we took another road to Dinosaur, then turned onto Highway 40 and the rest is history.

So that's my life. I'm unemployed and down to my last $100 or so. Donations are welcome.

And here's a cool triptych I found online. It's made of various types of corn and other grains and depicts Lawrence Welk, Myron Floren (the bionic accordion player on the Lawrence Welk Show) and the Corn Palace in South Dakota. Random but slammin' awesome.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Five questions

Apparently there's some fun blogger game in which one blogger (me) answers five questions posed to him/her by a fellow blogger. Andrea (Dewey Richards) gave me these five and I'm going to answer them with gusto in a firey spirit of self-importance.

1. If you could take a month long backpacking trip, where would you go and why?

This is a very difficult question. There are a million and a half places I would like to go, but in the end I think it would have to be the British Isles. I know it doesn't have much in the way of mountains but I've always had the dream of going all around England, Scotland and Ireland, although I'd rather go on a bike than by foot. My dad and I always had this idea in the back of our heads about taking a cycling trip across England. I'd like to do that someday. Or remote mainland China. Or the Greek Isles. Or Norwegian Fjords. Or Nepal.

2. If you wrote a children's book, who would you want to illustrate it and why?

I have no answer for this one, but I can tell you it would not be Edward Gorey.

3. What would be your dream job? Be specific.

My dream job would be........well, it would be awesome if someone would pay me to learn a bunch of random instruments really well so that I could tour around Europe as a street musician. Of course I would have enough money to have nice houses in lots of different countries so I wouldn't have to stay in creepy hostels. And I would learn all the languages. And learn the history and literature of all the countries. Basically, I would want someone to pay me to learn all the things I want to learn at my own pace and discretion. That doesn't really count as a job, though, so maybe I would say it would be great to work in some really cool archive in Europe, where I could work with old things and computers and help people. And could have as many vacation days as I want.....

4. If you had to choose another time and place to live, what would you choose?

I think it would be really interesting to be alive in the time period of 1900-1950-ish. I don't know about one place in particular--that time period is so fascinating in both America and Europe and I would want to see it all--from a safe distance, of course. I would also be curious to see Victorian England.....but only for a week or so. Especially if I had to dress like this:

5. What would you do with 5 acres of land?
I would have a horse and at least two dogs. I would have a small house and a large greenhouse and a wood shop. I hope the land would abut a lake. I would have a very large garden. Maybe I would rent out or donate some plots for other people to have gardens who didn't have land of their own. And I would probably take in a bunch of stray animals--maybe some kind of shelter? And the house would be set way back from the road with a long tree-lined driveway. Does that count? I don't really have great plans for land, just how I want to live

Monday, May 14, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

A very dramatic day

I found out on Monday that I don't have a job at BYU, as most of you already know. My new attitude is "good riddance". The one before that was "their loss not mine". The one before that was "I don't have a job!". It's kind of exciting, being unemployed.

That same day I gave the boys haircuts. Adam was no problem, but Eli really, really, really didn't want to get his hair cut. He has somehow become very fashion-conscious, as far as hair is concerned, and he wants to keep it long and tangly and "un-handsome". Both Dan and Andrea told him he needed to get it cut, though, so I got to do the honors. I hardly cut it at all--just some off the back so he wouldn't have a long nasty rat tail/mullet-type thing, but he sobbed the whole time and was really angry at me all night. I was already grumpy from the whole no-job thing and wasn't in the mood to deal with his loathing, so I went down to my room. Right before bed he came down and shoved a note under my door: "Sorry. P.S. Can you right back. P.P.S. I love you." It was really cute, even though I'm pretty sure it started under coercion by Dan. A few minutes later, though, he knocked on my door and he came in and we had a good long talk. I have very strong memories of things like that happening when I was a child. I would get so angry and vow to myself to stay angry forever, but it would quickly get more and more difficult to keep up appearances. Eventually something would happen and there would be apologies and forgiveness all around and I would be so relieved that I would talk and talk and talk. It was an interesting trip down memory lane from a different perspective, and a relieving conclusion to a very dramatic evening.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A glimpse into my psyche

I took the Muppet Personality Test (link below) and this is what I came up as. I was kind of hoping for the Swedish Chef.

You Are Rowlf the Dog
Mellow and serious, you enjoy time alone cultivating your talents.
You're a cool dog, and you always present a relaxed vibe.
A talented pianist, you can play almost anything - especially songs by Beethoven.
"My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Straight on through to the other side

Oh, man. I'm way behind in posting.

So I thought I would post the news that I've resigned from my orchestral positions here. I just sent e-mails to the personnel managers of the two orchestras I have contracts with telling them I won't be returning next fall. I've been putting off making it official, ostensibly because I've been waiting to hear whether I have a job at BYU or not. I realized today, though, that staying here next year to gig would cause my soul to shrivel and wither away like the bad Nazi guy at the end Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the actor who, as a side note, I saw play King Lear in London. He was very good.). My job at BYU is not solidified, and may never actually go through, and I don't know what exactly I'll be doing next year, but whatever I'm doing I'll be doing it in Utah and not Michigan. Not to give Michigan a bad rap (there's already plenty of bad rap coming out of this state...bad pun)--I've had lots of good experiences here and there are plenty of great things about Ann Arbor that Utah sorely lacks. Not to mention I'll have to leave Dan & Co., which will be traumatic for me. But I guess even good changes still leave you with a few pangs of sadness for things left behind. That's life.

That sounds like the opening for some new-age motivational/inspiration self-help book. I never knew I had it in me.

I'm supposed to be arranging a musical number right now for church on Sunday. We have a rehearsal at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Yikes.

Toodle-pip, as Bertie Wooster would have it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This is the title for this post

The most exciting thing to happen this week so far is replacing the zippers on my viola case. I know it's hard to believe that I would ever need to replace anything on my ghetto case, but the zippers finally bit the dust. So now my brown case is sporting brand new fire engine red zippers. I think everyone at the music school probably thinks I'm really cool. The whole project took about 12 hours and I went through a few needles and a number of episodes of Jeeves and Wooster. I'm glad I'll never have to make a living with my sewing skills (knock on wood).

I saw the dude on the bus again this morning and he invited me to a non-denominational lecture/question and answer thing about "exploring evidences of God in science, history and the existence of life." I may go, I may not go. There is free pizza after all. I didn't know what to call it in my planner, though, so it got written down as "God thing". I don't think He'll be offended.

Oh, and I must share an exciting moment from two weeks ago. That week we played Tchaikovsky Symphony 6 in the Ann Arbor Symphony. I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I've developed a bad habit of pushing up my glasses by scrunching up my nose and eyes so I don't have to use my hands. I feel like it has almost turned into a tic although that may be a bit dramatic. Anyway, during the concert, between the second and third movements, I did the scrunchy thing but happened to be looking at the conductor when I did it. He in turn happened to be looking at me and he gave me a big wink in response! I guess he thought I was winking at him or something and I feel like writing him a letter of explanation. The whole orchestra wondered who he was winking at. I guess it's a funny story? Or creepy?

I have some other thoughts to share, but they aren't as ridiculous as these so I'll have to save them for another time. 'Til then, I bid you adieu.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This is for all those people....

...who have been checking my blog, if there are any. I haven't written forever, as you can tell. My recital's over and I got a sunburn in Arizona for spring break and now I'm slogging my way through the last month of school. That pretty much brings you up to date. Oh, and I had a great conversation with a really handsome and nice guy on the bus yesterday. He even tried to invite me to go do something but I had to get off the bus before he could get anywhere. That's the most action I've seen in a long time. I'm pathetic.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wonder of wonders, a miracle, a miracle

I passed my recital hearing. I'm going to explode.

It really is a miracle and I'm so grateful to God for blessing me with a clear mind and a relatively calm feeling. Yesterday, when I was feeling excruciatingly anxious, I was reading in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 3&4 where Laman and Lemuel were griping, saying how Laban was a mighty man and commanded a large army. Nephi replies that the Lord is mightier than all the earth and certainly mightier than Laban and his tens of thousands. Sometimes when there are a lot of bad or catastrophic or wonderful things going on in the world it makes me ask myself: what right do I have to ask God for something so small and insignificant as passing my recital jury when there are so many more important things going on? Today will most likely impact no one but me and will probably make no difference in the world. But for some reason this scripture made me feel like yes, God is mightier than all the earth but He is not too mighty to be concerned with the mundane details of my life that are important to me.

When I was done with my hearing Schotten chatted with me for a few minutes. He said that it was ironic that I've decided to not be a musician because my playing is "really coming together." First of all, it's weird to be getting any kind of compliment from him. Second, it would have been nice to get some kind of encouragement or positive feedback BEFORE my hearing rather than after. Third, that was nice of him to say. Sometimes it still feels like I may end up doing music after all, but I know that it won't be right away because I'm not in a healthy enough frame of mind (with regards to music) to make it work right now. Maybe someday--who knows?

Also, last night was one of the very few nights that something unsettled in my life disturbed my sleep. Usually I can sleep no matter what, but
I kept having dreams that I didn't pass my recital hearing and had to wait until May to do my recital because there weren't any spots available in the hall until then. I woke up at least every half hour or so. Here's to that not happening again any time soon.

Ode to the joy of playing Beethoven will have to wait a little longer....I have to go to class.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Da da da da da da da da da da I am really strung out

No, not in the wasted druggie kind of way, but in the procrastinating stressful, I-have-to-practice-or-I-won't-graduate kind of way. Last week was indescribably awful and I'm paying dearly for accepting too many gigs (ironic, no?) and having too little time to practice. I keep telling myself that it's just two more weeks of my life and then I don't have to worry about it any more, but these two weeks are going to be.....I don't even want to think about it. So off to the practice rooms I go. I will post again before too long and the next post will probably be an ode to the joy of playing Beethoven, my new hero and the new #1 on my list of potential after-life husbands, bumping Brahms to a distant second.

Pray for me!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I love Johannes dearly, but I'm feeling a bit overloaded this week. I'm playing Brahms Symphony 4 in two different orchestras, plus a Brahms quartet (A minor) and sextet (G major). Yesterday I spent over 6 hours playing Brahms, and by playing I mean struggling with awkward and infuriating, yet wonderful and important viola parts. Did you know he played the piano in bars when he was young to help make money for his family? He hated that a lot. He also never married--he's number one on my list of potential afterlife husbands if things don't work out in this life.

In other news, I dropped my phone this morning for the 168th time and lost the battery cover. The battery is currently being held in place by a very nice scotch tape job, but the phone is having trouble staying on. If any of you are having a hard time getting a hold of me you can attribute it to that.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Halfway on a prayer

After a relaxing and much-needed Christmas break in Utah, I've returned to Michigan and the winter of my discontent. I'm not discontented because it's winter (it's actually so mild here that it feels like a prolonged chilly spring), I'm just trying to get through this program without going crazy or completely losing my self-respect. I'm going to do my best to make sure that my recital isn't a bust, but it makes me feel a bit like an imposter because I know my heart won't really be in it. I think I just need to suck it up and deal with it. Millions and billions of people do things they don't want to--I think I can do it too.

The drive back was beautiful. The west has some kind of brilliant, incandescant quality to it that I sorely miss when I'm away. Wyoming was especially stunning--the sun was glaring and would have been annoying if I hadn't been telling myself to soak it up and appreciate it while I could. Here's a postcard I found at a random gas station somewhere in the middle of the state (Rawlins?).

It was also really great to see Kristen along the way in Omaha. She's my long-lost cousin/former roommate who just returned from her mission in Berlin. I enjoyed using my German-gibberish in conversation with her and hanging out with her family for a few hours, which is more time than usual for a stopover in Omaha! The weather was fantastic the whole way back--a huge blessing for which I'm very grateful. Hats off, also, to Eileen's faithful Ford Explorer (christened "Cracker") for its magnificent, trouble-free performance throughout the entire trip.

My next road trip is as yet undecided, but I'm pretty sure it will involve some children and Washington D.C. over spring break. Keep checking back for my next travelogue.