Monday, December 10, 2018

So. Many. Schemes.


 My sister and I have this thing for schemes--it's like we're addicted to them or something. Our definition of a scheme is doing something for someone to either cheer them up or invite them to something. Food is usually involved. Today's schemes (only two) include cookies for the custodians, and an invitation to church for a classmate. Last week it was flowers for two friends, donuts for professors, invitations to my sister's public reading, and I think there was something else, though I don't remember what. 

Do you ever do some scheming? :) I should add that it can be very stressful and I usually think about backing out last minute because I don't think I have the guts to follow through with it. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

"I wish you were here"

    A year ago I got this message from Levi: "I wish you were here this week." It was his family's annual get-together, which means about 60 people cramming into three houses for days of laughter, conversation, food, and lots and lots of noise. But good times, nonetheless. Last year they had planned a paintball fight between the cousins (his nephews and nieces) but the girls backed out last minute, being sensible creatures. I was one of the friends that had convinced them to do it at all in the first place. Anyway, the incident stuck with me, and this past week, as his family got together again, I couldn't help but remember the message. 

I wish you were here this week, too, Levi. 

*Not all is glum and sad for us. We have our Hope, and we will see Levi again, no matter what.

Monday, November 12, 2018

It happened

Yup. I hit a deer. I'm okay. 

    I mentioned on here earlier that I was going to play alongside a Chorale for five concerts, two weekends. This past weekend was the last set of concerts. Saturday I picked up one of the members of the choir, and we started out for our destination. I had seen many deer already, so I was watching for them more than usual. It was getting darker and darker the closer we got to our destination, and we were in the river valley. There was a car in front of me, and one behind me. At one point a deer leapt out in front of the car ahead of me, so we all slowed down for that, but it didn't get hit. Around another bend, and the car in front of me got farther ahead, but not far enough for me to be able to use my bright lights. I spotted deer number nine, trotting out from some brush on my left. It never hesitated. I stomped on the brakes, but the deer was too close. It made a huge sound as I hit it --- a big WHAP! It flew at us over the windshield and bounced into the ditch. I had continued on the brakes, and now I pulled over and put my hazards on. I was pretty shaken up, as you can imagine, and my lovely passenger was asking how I was, if I was okay. I just returned the question. Thankfully the airbags hadn't gone off and the seat-belts hadn't locked us up too badly. So, when I had remembered to breathe, and we had established that we were both okay, I hopped out of the car to assess the damage. Front left headlight = smashed. Left side hood = smashed. Windshield = good, surprisingly not cracked. Tire alignment = good.  Grid = smashed. I went and picked up the pieces out of the road. My car wasn't overheating or smoking, so we continued cautiously to the concert venue. I was relieved to find that my violin had also come out just fine, despite tumbling around the back seat. I called my mom and dad from the venue, to prepare them. They were coming to the concert anyway. Next I tried to focus on the concert that was at hand, steady my hands, and think on things pertaining to the moment. And you know what? That concert was the best out of the five. Weird, the way things happen sometimes. 

   I was sore yesterday (mostly my neck and shoulders), but my passenger said she wasn't. My car is in the shop getting new tires today (that was planned anyway) and it'll get a check-up too. 

   The concerts are over, and I already miss my new group of old friends. They're so much fun. Sigh. They're singing with us at the orchestra's Christmas concert though, so only a month before I see them again! 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

All Things Music

My current repertoire is long:
Brahms, more Brahms
Mozart, more Mozart, (some more Mozart, for auditions)
Schubert (times 2!)
Haydn (and some more Haydn)
Shifting exercises
and.... I think that's it? It's a lot to practice. The PAC has sort of hired me to play with them for their Fall concert series. It's going to be great. Lots of sacred chorale music. And then there's orchestra. Oh, and the kids' ensemble that really needs to practice soon. . . 

My listening choices are currently:
Sacred chorale
Dvorak (violin sonatas, and American quartet)

What have you been up to, musically? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Standard Has Been Set

Hello Friends,

     This is my most recent paper for Academic Writing. My previous paper received an -A, and this paper an +A. The standard has been set, and my next paper in progress is about my generation. I'm not sure I'll have trouble with the word count this time! 

     Forgive with me for all the scrolling, this paper has 761 words. 

One Way My Mother Shaped Me

When we were little, my sister and I would beg our mother to take us to the barn where we boarded our horse Sunny. When she said yes, we would excitedly change into our “barn clothes” –grubby play clothes and mud boots. I remember when we drove up and saw the big sign, painted green and yellow with a big bay horse on a swing. “Horseplay Ranch,” it said. The brown metal-sided barns were filled with hay and lockers for tack and brushes. Other barns were lined with rows of stalls. One of the biggest buildings was an indoor arena, which also played house to dozens of barn swallows.
When I was five, on one of the glorious days I got to go with Mom, she was riding Sunny in the arena. I was sitting on an overturned five-gallon bucket, sporting a black corduroy sweater and my little yellow rubbers, watching Mom and Sunny and waiting for my turn to ride. Sunny’s hooves kicked up puffs of dust as they went around and around, and her hocks clicked as she trotted. The swallows flitted in and out of the arena, feeding their hatchlings, chattering to each other, and then swooping out again. Something landed in my lap with a little flop. I squawked as I looked down and saw a baby bird wiggling around. It was warm and fuzzy, with little feather tufts on its head. I cupped it in my chubby hands and delighted in how cute it was and hoped it wasn’t injured.    
Mom dismounted and came over. She explained how sometimes the baby birds would get sick and the mama birds would push them out of the nest. This little one didn’t look sick, so perhaps the nest was over-full and one of its siblings had knocked it out by accident. We nestled the hatchling in a corner where the other horses and riders wouldn’t step on it. The nest was too high to be able to put the baby back up, and if it was sick we didn’t want to have it pushed out again. The little bird was one of the first animals we’ve rescued together. My mom knows all about animals and caring for creatures. She’s taught me something new and different from each rescue.
I didn’t realize I had taken on my mother’s love for animals until a few years later, when my mom and I rescued a young bunny out of a crowded hutch which it shared with birds and filth. When we cleaned him up he rather resembled an Oreo cookie. We named him Hiccup. When this little bunny came along, he had a sinus infection that left him wheezing, hiccupping, and sneezing. We had to constantly clean his face and paws, even at night. He lived in a corner of my room—the only corner where sheet music wasn’t piling over everything—and every hour of the night he would wake me up with his sneezing. I would roll out of my cozy bed each time and clean his face, letting him breathe for another hour, then roll back into bed. I lost a lot of sleep over one little bunny, but because of what my mother taught me I couldn’t let him suffer. Seeing him recover was a satisfactory experience. I appreciated being able to sleep more than one hour at a time, and not waking up to a panicking bunny but instead being greeted by a healthy animal with a ready appetite. He didn’t live much longer, but I had applied my mother’s love to life and been rewarded. Of course, I enjoyed animals before, but then I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my time and effort to them.

My mom is practical. She is sensible. But she does have a soft spot, and that spot is for animals. My mother shapes my understanding of care and comfort, when to help and what to do when it’s too late. She shows me the bond an animal and a human can have. She gives of her time and energy. I admire my mom, and like Bly I say it is a great thing to be able to respect one’s parent. These short tidbits in my life matter because they opened my understanding of my mom and of who I was becoming as a person—how I was taking bits of my mother and making them my own. These stories came to mind first as an example of learning from my mother and spending time together. 

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Senior Pictures!

     I recently had an afternoon away from work and school to take a friend's senior pictures, and have her take mine. Here are the favorites. Do you have a favorite? :) 

 (My elbow is too high in these.... grrrrrr, but something only a musician would notice.)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you forgive me for my absence here lately. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Another good hymn

Give to the Winds Thy Fears

Give to the winds thy fears,
hope and be undismayed;
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears;
God shall lift up thy head.

Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears the way;
wait thou His time, so shall this night
soon end in joyous day.

Still heavy is thy heart,
still sink thy spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart,
and ev'ry care be gone.

What though thou rules not,
yet heav'n, and earth, and hell
proclaim, God sitteth on the throne,
and ruleth all things well.

Leave to His sov'reign sway
to choose and to command.
so shalt thou wond'ring own His way,
how wise, how strong His hand!

Far, far above thy thought
His counsel shall appear,
when fully He the work hath wrought,
that caused thy needless fear.

Thou seest our weakness, Lord,
our hearts are known to Thee;
O lift Thou up the sinking heart,
confirm the feeble knee.

Let us in life, in death, 
Thy steadfast truth declare,
and publish with our latest breath

Thy love and guardian care.

~Paul Gerhardt and John Wesley

Friday, September 7, 2018

Academic Writing Assignment

It might interest you. Advice? It's kind of long.

Growing up does not happen in a day, but rather it occurs gradually, over the course of months, years, and events. When searching my mind for an occasion to write about, I could not think of one specific time after which I was grown up. Perhaps it has not fully happened yet. I did not really relate to any one of the stories in the book Growing Up in Minnesota. Perhaps because I am raised in a different mindset, not a street kid or the rebellious type. I do not swear and curse or do the gross immature things the kids did in the stories. Perhaps my imagination is dull and that is why I did not connect with their growing up stories.
In 2017 when the weather was turning from summer to fall, from green to amber, my horse began the decline of age, and I faced the dreaded question of when to say goodbye. I pushed it away, not wanting it to be reality, not wanting to make the decision. It did not take long before I caved  and all my emotions spilled out and we set a date and time to let her go. When that dreaded day came, the knowledge was the worst part. The knowledge that this was her last day, her last few hours, her last minutes. And she was calm and oblivious, not knowing her fate or worrying about it. Yet I, on the other hand, was at one moment collected and the next an emotional puddle. The goodbyes were said, and she slipped peacefully into her repose. Later my sister told me that this was a life-changer, and it would give me freedom. And she was right, I had freedom to get a car, get a job, focus more on my school and primary hobbies. Is freedom the goal of growing up?
The second occasion that I remember is when my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. My grandparents lived in New Hampshire, so my mother had a long way to travel to go be with her, and she went multiple times. On most of those trips she left me in charge of the house, the chores and the meals, with help from my sister and father. One of the biggest things I learned during that time was responsibility. I must do the work, I must be disciplined, things must be done on time. When my grandmother died, the grief was not there for me, and I do not mean that in an unfeeling way. She suffered through so much pain that death was sweet and quiet. We mourned, but the most important thing I learned was not about grief, for it was still distant to me. I learned responsibility. Is being responsible what it means to be grown up?

The third event happened just a week ago, so the thoughts and feelings are all still quite real and fresh. Late one night one of my friends killed himself. The grief and pain individuals, families, and community are feeling is immense. You would never expect that one of your friends, let alone the funny, caring, and gregarious one, would do such a devastating thing as suicide. It is a true shock when it happens. The process of denial, coping with the idea of it all, the tears, and finally the acceptance that this all really happened is something I have never known before. It is not a dream. It is reality. Inside me the hole left is gaping. I have learned how to grieve, how to deal with the aftermath no one ever wants to deal with. I have learned that suicide is selfish. I know that when I come through this I will be more grown up. But is knowing true grief part of being grown up?

All three of these stories have shaped who I am, how I have grown up, and who I will be tomorrow. They shape how I will respond to life’s adventures, tragedies, and hopes. I would not say that after each of these I was grown up, but rather that each of them helped me understand adult-hood; each of them taught me something else about being an adult. And who knows, another event will come along and teach me something new. Something else to give me that one piece closer to being complete. Being grown up means having a well-rounded view of life, and a way to be efficient and knowledgeable. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Oh, What Their Joy and Their Glory Must Be

Oh what their joy and glory must be, 
those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see!
Crowns for the valiant, to weary ones rest;
God shall be all, and in all, ever blest.

In new Jerusalem joy shall be found,
blessings of peace shall forever abound;
wish and fulfillment are not severed there,
not the things prayed for come short of the prayer.

We, where no troubles distraction can bring,
safely the anthems of Zion shall sing;
while for Your grace, Lord, their voices of praise
Your blessed people shall evermore raise.

Now let us worship our Lord and our King,
joyfully raising our voices to sing;
Praise to the Father, praise to the Son,
praise to the Spirit, to God, three in One. 

~ Peter Abelard