A Glass of Chianti

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'm not to be defeated by the sweatshirt

I just realized that by providing some personal background in the previous post I may have left the wrong impression. I just want to be very clear that I wear this hole-ridden sweatshirt over incredibly cute pajamas. I wear incredibly cute pajamas because I am an attractive and desirable young woman. I'm not old. I know it may have sounded otherwise. I understand what woman + cat + wearing terrible sweatshirts to bed can bring to mind. I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions before they had chance to cement in anyone's mind.

I'm hoping I dodged a bullet here....

Defeated by a sweatshirt

My cat is, in many ways, very confused about her identity. She thinks she's a dog. She comes when you call her. She greets you at the door when you walk in. She plays fetch. She drinks from the toilet... Coco is the perfect cat for a dog person like me.

Today, though, she remembered she's a cat. She decided to cuddle with the sweatshirt that I sleep in fairly often. I figured that it was her way of claiming it and since it has a couple of holes in it (making it fairly useless as a warmth-saving device) I would have an excuse to get rid of it, without really getting rid of it - I would just do a little hand-me-down to the cat. A win-win situation was to be had, it seemed.

A little later, when I walked in and saw her on my bed, she didn't look as amused as I did. Apparently, she was having a bit of trouble exiting the sleeve. I felt kind of bad laughing. Only kind of, though.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I should really check the sidebars of some of my favorite blogs more often.

Some people make changes! (And as a result, some other people don't notice and feel really silly.)


I guess this will tide me over until the Leon* Theremin figure gets a release date**.
(From the Carnival of Music #13)

*Not, as far as I can tell, short for Leonidas.
**Come on, we all go through a Theremin phase. I know that I watched Spellbound at least three times just to hear the theme again.

Monday, August 29, 2005


I hope that I can be a quarter as sexy as Vikki Carr is when she sings "The Silencers."

My goodness.

Of interest to nobody but me

but... I just figured out a way to have calls from certain groups of in my address book go ring silently (and thus, go to voicemail without me having to send them there) and have the rest ring audibly. Technology is great.

I'm not saying that my list of students is currently set this way, but...

It's 10:45, and I've already spoken to three students (calling before their school day began, to tell me that their band director is insisting they use a certain brand and model mouthpiece.... *sigh*...) and two parents of students (calling from work, and basically wanting a walk-through of the December All-Region process). They're great, wonderful, perfect people with good questions, but I've reached my limit for pre-lunch advising calls.

Also, equipment bigoted band directors are my least favorite people in the world. Especially when they don't play the clarinet. Actually, especially when they do. They should know better than that.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

There's simply not much to say

Most of my day has been spent breaking in my new rosary (flavor - green) while watching television and the endless line of cars on the highways just. not. move. I can't imagine what feels like to be in those cars with your immediate family just not knowing what is going to happen. Sure, you have everything that matters most, but... oh... I just can't imagine.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

On the agenda for tomorrow

1. As nice as this has been, it's really no substitute for the real beads... so, I firmly resolve to find an acceptable rosary.
2. Weary of spending a (self-imposed) minimum of 4 hours a day over the last month traveling my city, (I can't rightly complain about being lonely if I'm not looking for people to interact with) I resolve to retire to my television early in the day and not feel guilty about just watching a stupid movie.
3. I guess I resolve to clean my cat's litterbox. It doesn't make me as happy as the other obligations.
4. I resolve to cook a fabulous dinner of pasta with white sauce and little shrimpies and share (at least a couple shrimp) with my Coco.
5. I resolve not to count my students' notebooks again. There are plenty. Seriously.

But now? Bedtime for Sarah. I'm feeling better already. :)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Imagine how snotty this article would have been

if he had instead used the real name of the conflict: The War of Northern Aggression.

Movie: The Five Obstructions

I remember reading Victor Morton's review of this movie after he saw it up in Toronto. It was cautionary ("THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS is not a film for everyone") and went on to describe why it was, indeed, not for everybody. Everything he said, however, made it seem like the perfect Sarah movie.

It wasn't. My problems with it are twofold:

1. The film can't decide whether it is about the process of coming up with the obstructions or the ultimate results of the obstructions. Tthe von Trier/Leth dynamic is incredibly compelling, but the only real interaction we get is after the second obstruction where Leth is defending his breaking of the rules. More of that interaction and less of the "making-of" featurettes before the final products would have been a great movie.
2. Because we never see the full short that inspired this theme-and-variations play, you have to reconstruct what it might be so that the movie premise makes sense. My problem is that the "Perfect Human" short I constructed in my head from the excerpts shown is a whole lot more interesting than the real "Perfect Human." Watching the short after seeing The Five Obstructions (it's an extra on the DVD) was a big lesson in leaving well enough alone for me.

I'm glad this was my free rental this week. I'm taking comfort in the fact that I didn't invest anything other than time to watch this. I didn't hate it, but it did greatly frustrate me. I'm going back to imagining conservative porn.

Just because

More people need to understand that feeling lonely is not the same as being bored.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's porn, but (for once) no Latin

Jamie has a post up about The West Wing as "liberal pornography" - a reading which has the advantage of not only being fairly accurate but also pretty funny. It also raises the obvious question about how conservative pornography would shape up.

It's just been a pornography-filled couple of days in my little collection of daily reads. First it was the Shrine supplying me with eye candy, and then Patti was inspiring envy with her constant talk about her new Wiseman case (I've always wanted one of their reed cases)... This is clearly a sign that I need to get away from my computer for more than just the traditional pre-lunch hours.

Not that this subject has been on my mind at all lately...

Mr. Teachout quoted this interview of Camille Paglia earlier in the week. Because my cat's dander and my eyes were engaged in combat over the past three-ish days (where my eyes, finally, emerged victorious) it took me a while to read it. Here's the excerpt that Terry quoted (slightly extended):

CP: [...] This is why I think literature, post-Plath, has drifted into a compulsive telling of any trauma that you can find in your life. Prozac—“I’m taking Prozac” or divorce or diseases or whatever. Endless kvetching. It’s a style of telling of woes and the potential range of literature is being neglected and part of my crusade now is—

RB: Crusading?

CP: I’m on a crusade—it’s to say to the poets and the artists, “Stop talking to each other. Stop talking to coteries. I despise coteries in any form. You are speaking to a coterie, OK. Stop the snide references to the rest of the world who didn’t vote with you in the last election.” This is big. Because we have all separated again. After 9/11, everyone was united. We are separated again thanks to what has happened in politics. People in the art world are full of sanctimonious sense of superiority to most of America. But they must address America, learn to address America. Yes, have your friends, have the people who support what you are doing in the art world, but you have to recover a sense of the general audience and the same thing I am saying to the far right, get over the sneering at art, the stereotyping—

RB: They started it.

CP: Wait a minute. The far right wouldn’t have any opinions about art if it weren’t for those big incidents in the late ‘80s to the ‘90s when some stupid work was committing sacrilege

RB: You’re referring to Andres Serrano?

CP: Yeah, some 10th-rate thing. It’s always Catholic iconography, I might point out. I am atheist, by the way. It’s never Jewish. It’s never Muslim. So I am saying this is a scandal. The art world has actually prided itself on getting a rise out of the people on the far right. Thinking, “We’re avant-garde.” The avante-garde is dead. It has been dead since Andy Warhol appropriated Campbell’s Soup labels and Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe into his art. The avante-garde is dead. Thirty years later, 40 years later, people will think they are avante-garde every time some nudnik has a thing about Madonna with elephant dung, “Oh yeah, we are getting a rise out of the Catholic League.”

RB: [laughs]

CP: Now, what is the result of this? Mainstream America looks at art and the artist as a scam and they don’t want to support government funding of the arts...

I don't think Camille Paglia is as one-note as God of the Machine contends in the first few paragraphs. I think she has about three notes (G, G-flat, G-sharp) and a dozen ways she presents them. Sure, the notes are closely related, but they really aren't quite the same. Anyway, I can't tell you if her poetry readings are as bad as Aaron seems to think (haven't read the book) but I do know that she gives a fantastic interview.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I didn't even know I had joined one

(If the bold text is too blurry, try clicking the picture or go here.) I have no idea why my parents allowed this to take place under their roof.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's 7:33

It is now a relatively pleasant 97 degrees. (It was 104 earlier.) The declining temperature, however, is not why I am happy.

I've found jeans!! That don't look ridiculous. And don't have a stupid wash thrust upon them. And aren't full of "artfully" placed worn patches.

It's been a pretty rough couple of weeks so I'm glad I have something to celebrate.

But my dog is going back to the parents' house. I now remember why I "left" him there.

Sarah's avant garde opera

I've just been struck by inspiration! I'm starting work immediately after I finish this post. I am going to compose a new opera. It will be sung in the original German (at least for the first performance. I may decide later that it is so important that people really understand it that I will allow it to be performed in the vernacular, Dialogues of the Carmelites-style). Anyway, we should move on.

It begins:
The stage is clear. White. der Tod enters dressed in white, clearly looking for something or someone. The orchestra swells and it hits - he suddenly knows who he is looking for. He calls out, "die Börse!" Nothing. He moves about on stage with purpose. "die Börse," again. And again. Again. And again. Orchestra music is pounding. Our hearts are with der Tod. Will he find die Börse?

The curtain falls.

The next scene opens with der Tod still looking for die Börse. An indeterminate time has passed, but time has passed. der Tod is still searching. He has not yet found what he is looking for. He calls again.

After 40 more minutes of searching for his beloved, the audience finally catches on. "This is so Waiting for Godot", they think. They are right.

Suddenly -

die Börse enters. She is dressed in green - a capitalist and a murderer (all portrayed through costume, naturally). She sees der Tod and runs toward him, obviously repentant, for her sins are many. They embrace. The last words (form die Börse): "der Tod!" The stage is bathed in red light, then fades to black.

The orchestra closes with a bitonal fanfare in Bb and G.

The critics will praise my social consience! Because of my economic background (well-placed in the program notes), they will understand that die Börse is no normal "purse," but representative of capitalism, and the evil capitalist tendencies in all of us. They will say that the listener should embrace the death of die Börse and look to der Tod as the hero above all heroes. They will note my minimalist lyrics and declare it the perfect choce for such a powerful and important subject. (Sure, one or two will cry that I took the easy way out and they may allege that I only know two words in German. It will not matter - nobody reads the arts critics in the Wall Street Journal, anyway.)

I know that I said I was going to get working on my masterpiece right after this, but I have some Hayek to burn. Can't have anyone find out my about my past...

Comfort movies

There's a pretty neat post at girish's place about "comfort movies." He describes them as "wonderful films that are proudly unguilty pleasures. I've seen these too often to disclose - it would be almost embarrassing." The comments have kind of turned into a "what movie do you watch when you are ill or need something to lull you to sleep" thing.

Here are my movies that "I've seen... too often to disclose" and I put on when, well, I don't have conversation to lull me to sleep:

Rushmore, North by Northwest, The Lion in Winter, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Red, The Magnificent Seven

(though not a movie) any Futurama disc my brother was wonderful enough to give me for Christmas

I've fallen asleep to Lohengrin too often to count. I guess that would be my "comfort opera."

Sports and opera fans living together - mass hysteria

Actually, it's a pretty bad title because they are really, really similar. Opera buffs have fantasy opera production conversations that can go on for hours and sports fans can take just as long to come up with their dream offensive line drawn only from players playing in 1968. It's insane.

I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of football. My mom was a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. My father, even though Lubbock was a hotbed for Oilers fans (when... uh... well....) grew up a Cowboys man. Every fall Sunday while I was coming up football was on television. When I got involved in marching band, Fridays and Sundays were football days. I went to college where, even though we were really, really bad, Saturdays were added to the Fridays (when my sisters and brother now marched) and Sundays. I can explain to you what the change to the 3-4 is going to do (or should do ;)) to the Cowboys's defensive linemen this season. If you need a quick and dirty definition of the I-formation, it's no problem. (Don't, however, ask me what people mean when they talk about the "West Coast" offense - everyone's definition is different, and they all seem about equally nebulous.) Here's the thing, though: I don't think I could name a half dozen players in the NFL now. I have no idea who the running back for the Steelers was in 2004 or 1994 or 1964. I don't have a favorite team, nor do I have an opinion on who is the best quarterback ever. I will, however, sit down and watch and quite enjoy* a football game any time one is on.

It's the same with baseball. And with curling. I can't tell you who is having a good season, but I can tell you who is having a good game (or match, in curling's case).

I had a really hard time getting into opera because of the opera snobs. They're just as bad as the sports snobs, and just as boring. I didn't have parents who had lots of records of vintage Beverly Sills and my local library had six CDs (two were of the same production of La Traviata). I came to college with those 6 performances as the only exposure to opera I'd ever had. It was a terrible eye-opening experience when I felt the opera snobs (in college! How lame!) looking down on me because I had no opinion on whether Renata Scotto made a good Musetta or not. Heck, I didn't even know if she had played Musetta. It was intimidating and off-putting and, frankly, hasn't gotten much better. I love going to the opera and I try to learn as much as I can, but this conversation has happened way more often than I'd like:

Me: "That was a pretty good performance. I really liked Jane Doe and Mary Smith tonight."
Snobby Patron: "Oh, I thought they weren't nearly as good as they should have been. It was the worst production I've seen."
Me: "Oh. Well, then, what is your favorite production of X opera?"
Snobby Patron: "Well, it's out of print."
Me: "Market forces hit again. What a shame. Well, what is your favorite recording out there that is available so that I can hear a good performance?"
Snobby Patron: "I don't know."

And it's not like I shy away from complaining about bad performances. It just seems like the pressure to say "opera isn't as good as it used to be" is so strong among a certain group of opera fans that they really alienate newer people who may not have the extensive background due to, I don't know, the fact that they didn't grow up in New York or Chicago or have parents who were opera people.

I'm not sure I have a solution right now. I certainly don't want to see things go the way of "dumbing down" the opera experience. I hate being talked down to, especially when I'm quite familiar with the libretto. I've always studied the score (more closely, I'd wager, than Snobby Patron, who probably can't even read a scrore...) before I've gone, and I usually have a pretty good background on the composer of the opera. I probably know more than just the operatic works, unlike a lot of the people at the opera. And still, even with all of my musical knowledge, I feel alienated from the opera fan's world.

It is just as if a opera buff went to a football game and had this conversation:
Opera guy: "Man, that was a really entertaining game. I thought they played well."
Snobby sports guy: "Well, actually, the team sucked."
Opera guy: "Oh, well there are a lot of teams in the area, who should I see next week if I want to be likely to see good playing?"
Snobby sports guy: "It doesn't matter. Football just isn't the same since free agency screwed up the game."

Do you think opera guy is going to become a fan of football with all of that helpful knowledge? Probably not, unless he really, really wants to perservere. It's hard to get into an art form (whether it is music or sports or sculpture or whatever) when you don't have a background and it's even more frustrating when the fans seem to do everything in their power to keep people out and uninterested and uninformed.

I will tell you one thing, though. Casual dress series subscriptions are not the way to win people over. Ugh.

*Because I especially dislike basketball, however, I won't watch it. Ever. It makes me grouchy for some unknown reason. Basketball is the Cosi fan tutti of sports. People are mad about it, and I just can't see why. Baseball, I think would be the Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen, of course. Football? Hmmmm.... maybe Verdi's Requiem? Yeah, not an opera, but operatic. Plus, can anything be a better accompaniment to a game than the "Dies Irae?" Seriously? *sigh* I'm sorry, I've gone too far.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Estate sales

I often go to estate sales on the weekends. The primary reason is that I just know that I am going to eventually find the one where there are several dozen VHS tapes of Firing Line lovingly preserved and set aside just for me. My grandmother had a tape storage cabinet full of old Murder, She Wrote episodes. They were unceremoniously disposed of after she died, despite the fact that I had already offered to give them a good home and professed my desire to bring them to Fort Worth. (As an aside, her gravesite in Lubbock faces a big, huge satellite dish. The family story is that she made sure that she could get the A&E feed for all eternity. I never said my family had class... ;))

In any case, I look for my fix of Buckley on the weekends. I am also on constant lookout for the March 5, 1945 issue of Time, cute scarves and old grammar books. I very rarely am able to find anything at these sales, but it is a nice way to spend a weekend afternoon.

So, no luck on any front today, but I have a few on deck for tomorrow. One of these weeks I just know I'll find something exciting.

It is incredibly difficult

To find just the right wine to drink with peach salsa. Because I have been unsuccessful in finding an acceptable mate for my adventures thusfar, I'm going to give up the wine search and go with my first instinct - chips and salsa with a lovely beer.

I may report on the success of my lunch later in the day. Also forthcoming: a (short!) post describing how I listen to opera (hint: it has something to do with how I watch sports).

Aaaaaaaand (if we're all lucky), a Catullus translation. Woooooo! :)

This is probably going to be a long post

So I apologize in advance. I do have an outline in my head which will keep things on track. And, yes, it's all an art post. No Latin, no Night Court, no "I swoon for Benedict XVI" (though I *heart* them all!)... All this post will do is clear up for you is why I like being from Texas but also why I've been crying every night for the past few weeks. If you're down with that, here we go...

A short biography
I, quite by accident, was born in New Mexico. It's hard for a Texan to admit that they were actually born somewhere else, but I justify it by saying that I was born within the real Texas borders and that U.S. cartographers have just been mistaken for the last few years. Also, I was baptized in Texas and thus have claim to the Texan label that way. If anyone wants to argue with my Texan credentials, I suppose we'll have to settle the question with a family recipe cook-off. You choose: salsa or chili. After moving to Texas when I was six months old, my family moved around a lot until I was in sixth grade. My sisters and brother were all born in different Texas cities and we've lived most everywhere in the state except for Houston and the Valley. On the one hand, it's pretty cool but on the other, it's kind of hard to say where I grew up other than the rather nebulous "Texas" answer. (My brother can definitely say he grew up in Fort Worth. I think my sisters probably don't remember any other city but Fort Worth, so they would probably say the same thing.) We didn't have much extended family around, but the six of us were pretty close and there was always something to do. It was a very wholesome experience. Even now, I realize that I lead a very wholesome life in comparison to many others my age. It's not by design, it's just a habit. It's a product of all the things that make small-town and Red State America the fodder for ridicule by certain others: Right and wrong are real. Consequences are real. Your family is watching you. Your neighbors are watching you. God is watching you. Your family, neighbors and God love you. Duty. Honor... I'm not saying that everything was perfect (oh, what I would give for a decent Catholic church...) or that those things are absent outside of Red America. I also know that there is this expectation of hypocrisy in a lot of circles. There's no seedy undercurrent here. I really was a happy girl. My parents did love me. I really did grow up in a place where the local bartender's wife made us kids sandwiches to eat while our dads had an after work beer (a hazy memory of mine recently confirmed).

So, then, why am I crying?

The "s" word
I was never, ever discouraged from learning about any subject. Even though my parents are self-admitted music illiterates, they quite encouraged me to pick up the clarinet and practice as much as I could. They aren't big "science people" but they always were enthusiastic toward my studies. Even though I passed both my parents' knowledge in math fairly early in middle school, they wanted to make sure that I continued to study it, as long as it made me happy. (I did keep my autodidact Latin studies to myself because I do think that they would have started to worry about me if they realized that the big book I was carrying around in high school wasn't my biology book after all, but it was a volume of the Summa. That possibly would have sent them over the edge. ;)) My sisters didn't have the broad interests that I did but did have a more active social life - with boyfriends *sigh* and birthday parties *sigh*. Still, though, it was never a question that we could do whatever we wanted to do with our studies. In many ways, it was a very humanist place to grow up.

None of this encouragement, however, means that anyone will share your interests. There's a certain type of place where the worst thing you can call someone is "snob."

Most of the girls I went to high school with got married a year or two after graduation. The ones who didn't marry their high school sweetheart, found someone in college and married them. They started wholesome families in the wholesome city and had happy children. Is there anything wrong with this? No. Wholesome is great, but it wasn't what God had for me right off the bat, so I kept studying and trying to discern my vocation. (I probably won't reference this much more here in the blog. I doubt anyone wants to read about my spiritual struggle. It doesn't seem interesting to anyone but me.)

And so it goes. I survived the high school experience unscathed and pretty popular (but not with any really close friends) and went off to college where I thought I'd find a bunch of people passionate about art and music and eager to learn everything there was to learn. I know I harbored some hope of eventually starting a little humanist school staffed with all of the most wonderful people I'd meet at the very well-respected music school I eventually chose.

I didn't find my humanist enclave in college. The musicians at music school central didn't care about the art majors. The artists didn't care about the wind symphony. Nobody but me cared when Lech Walesa came to speak... This is why I'm crying.

There's nothing wrong with going to the opera, just don't try to take me with you
So, here I am. A Red American (young!) adult with (some, but not solely) Blue American tastes. And it's been difficult. Nobody tells me that there's anything wrong with liking Dan Flavin, but nobody wants to go with me to the retrospective. One of my blogger heroes was incredibly generous with his time and wrote me an e-mail that resonated very strongly with me. This was the point that just summed it all up (I hope he doesn't mind the quote!)
That's the trouble with the red-blue split--I have no doubt
that Red America is fundamentally right about the things that matter most, but that doesn't help when you want to see a French movie....

And that is exactly it. I wanted to call and talk with somebody and tell them that I finally saw what was causing the discontent. But then I remembered - I don't have anyone who would listen to me talk about that - which is why the sentence is so right and so painful all at the same time.

Why do I feel isolated in a place where I have so much in common with everyone? If I had felt stifled, I probably would have lashed out and run off to New York or Chicago or Kansas City or New Orleans... would that have been better? Did my parents hurt me, ultimately, by not being the overprotective, close-minded, philistine artphobes they were supposed to be?! (Only joking!)

Seriously, though, I don't know exactly what to do about any of this. Blogging will certainly pick up. I hope crying will slow down. (It doesn't do me any good, so why do I do it... other than the estrogen?). If you're interested, I suggest you keep reading. I can't promise that the blog won't be occasionally derailed by some Haugen-bashing and periodic silly jokes. I've been itching to put up one of my Catullus translations, but haven't found the right time to do so...

In any case, Virgil (for the first time in a while) is calling and I can't resist that. First, though, I have to set the mood for this section and put on some Merle Haggard. Thanks for reading! I promise to get better at writing if you keep reading. How's that for a deal?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back later

1. Been given some bubblegum for my brain, so I'm going to spend a bit chewing it. Post forthcoming, but not until tomorrow (at least).

2. The Internet is pretty great.

3. My Weather Pixie has the great hair that my doll should have, but she really dresses like a slut. Did you see her when it was 99 today? A bathing suit... on the 'net! I was embarrassed for her!

Because Jamie made it seem like so much fun...


10 years ago I was... 15 and (if I've done the math correctly) just starting my sophomore year of high school. Since it's August, I was probably at marching band rehearsal (the program: The Magnificent Seven and Copland's Rodeo). Later this year, the Debaucherymobile would get its name when I announce that I had to leave a meeting because "I [had] a date with Debauchery." I thought it was funny.

5 years ago I wasÂ… 20. I think this would have been the semester that I had acoustics, which is the most awesome field of science. Also, I do believe that this was my last semester of marching band. I would have been, therefore, saying many prayers of thanksgiving. ;)

1 year ago I was... doing many of the same things I am doing now: setting up lesson schedules and the like.

Yesterday I was... playing Metroid. It's great.

5 Cds I listen to often: I don't listen to CDs all the way through very often. Hmmm... Space Capades is indispensable. I know I've listened to Pines of Rome several times over the past few weeks so score one for Resphigi. I've listened to my "The Yankee" and "Optimism" playlists a bunch lately. That's at least 4 CDs worth a piece, there.

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars: I don't have any credit card or college debt, but I know there are some people who can't profess vows in an order until they are debt-free, so I'd probably sponsor as many as I could find. I'd build a house with bathrooms and closets somewhere with milder summers than Texas. There are a couple of charities that I've always wanted to donate more than my prayers to, but haven't been able to budget accordingly. I'd commission a great work for clarinet and French Horn. I'd commission a painting to hang in my house.

5 places I would run away to: Florence. Milan. Chile. Rome. Huntington, WV. ;)

5 things I would never wear: Non-rose colored glasses. Purple shoes. Sequins. A "Phil the Pill" costume. A beard.

5 favorite TV shows: American Gothic, Picket Fences, The Amazing Race, Night Court, Arrested Development

5 bad habits: I babble. I compulsively pick the goop out of my eyes. I shower at night, which makes my pillow all wet because I hate the hair dryer. I don't untie the shoelaces on my tennis shoes. I interrupt.

5 biggest joys: Playing Crussel, seeing people I love, talking with my family about The Amazing Race, teaching, getting an e-mail or a phone call from a friend.

5 favorite toys: My GameBoy, the little cellophane ball Coco likes, Legos, my Eb clarinet, the GameCube.

Anyway, much like the other projects on this relatively chainletter-free environment if you'd like to do so on your blog, let me know so I can set up a link to your answers. Also, I really am interested in what answers people have, so if you don't want to post it on your own blog, e-mailing me your answers would be kinda cool, too. Answering one or two of the prompts in the comments box might be fun... Seriously. I want to know where people would run away to!

UPDATE: Michael would run away to South Carolina.... or Egypt... or York...

It feels as if I'm (just barely) outrunning Eeyore

He's been stalking me, and it's taken everything I have to stay about two steps ahead of the gloomy donkey. In an effort to stave off the depression, I played with pixel paper dolls. Even though I was ultimately unable to get the hair right, I have to admit it was fun.

Girls. Boys. Sadly, there aren't any "I love the Pope" or "Kiss Me, I Know Latin" T-Shirts. If you want to see what you would look like wearing a raccoon on your head, though... you're all set.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Vegas Wedding

My friend has decided to take off from Texas (God's country) a week early and marry his girlfriend on the way to the new job in California (Arnold's country) in Las Vegas (Liberace's country). Amy and I went looking for her dress today. She claimed to have had an easier time finding housing out in San Diego than we were having trying to find a tulle monstrosity.

There are really ugly dresses out there.

My suggestion that they get married by a Johnny Cash impersonator was met with a polite smile. I'm going to work on Mark a little longer. I think I can turn that polite (but insincere) smile into an enthusiastic "yes!" by Thursday.

While writing a letter

to the parents of my students who primarily speak Spanish, I realized that I had mixed up the words conejo and consejo. Instead of offering advice, I was offering a bunny.

I'm glad I noticed before I sent them. Though, it would have been a fun the first day of lessons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yes, it's Ovid...

but I'll keep it short because we don't want this place to descend into smut too quickly now...
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.

After a couple of weeks of his Tristia being more appropriate, it was nice to have a short meeting with the Amores. Someday I'll be able to stop the little butterflies in my stomach long enough to have a coherent conversation. Now, though, I suppose I'll just enjoy the heady feeling.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Defeated by a children's book

Location: Find Waldo Now - "The Last Days of the Aztecs" spread.

Unable to find the "conquistador with his fingers in his ears" as directed by the checklist in the back of the book ("hundreds more things for time travelers to look for!").

Am very frustrated.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Catholic stuff

I don't normally talk about my parish here. One of the reasons is that doing so can put me in a funky mood. There's nothing overtly terrible that happens there, but the atmosphere isn't very reverent (which discourages me) and it is very much focused on the gathering of the church community and finding God in one another rather than finding God in the Eucharist. I understand that the reason they do this is that there is a temptation to get caught up in the artifice of worship and forget to look below that. There's another post for another (smarter) author...

Anyway, I bring all of this up because part of the homily today got under my skin. In the middle of an semi-incoherent (par for the course) exhortation to be a "welcoming parish" (which is the homily we get every week*) Father started to talk about how much he loves our parish. He loves the parishioners because they make visitors feel welcome.** He loves the diversity. He loves the variety of families that worship here. He loves the dedication of the youth group.... it went on for a while. There's no objection from me on this. It's wonderful to hear people talk about why they are happy, and it does needle me into being less negative, which is a regrettable tendency of mine.

But then he said that he loved the fact that we weren't "married to rubrics" and that we didn't have anyone in the parish who was "one of those types that thinks receiving Holy Communion in the hand is sacrilege." The first part was delivered with a little sideways glance (met with a smile... because I'm just that kinda girl) in my direction and the second was really not directed at me, even though I'm the only one who does receive on the tongue. I started thinking about the super-devoted awesome Catholics I "know" through St. Blog's. I couldn't think of one of them who would think that receiving Holy Communion in the hand is sacrilegious. I've read a few who think that it's improper. I know a few who would think that it's irreverent, but I couldn't think of one who would think that people who receive in the hand are sacrilegious. Other than schismatics, who thinks this? It just seemed an unnecessary knock at a straw man.

Look, I'm not one of those traditionalists who camps out at the rectory to tell the priests how to run the parish. I don't pout about the fact that people are holding hands during the Our Father. I don't complain about how much the Haugen stuff really gets on my nerves. I don't walk out of Mass in a huff because the General Intercessions are yelled out by congregation members impromptu Baptist revival style. I walk out of Mass incredibly happy that I was able to be in the presence of Christ - body, blood, soul and divinity. I start looking forward to Sunday Mass (and not just for the donuts afterwards) around... oh... Saturday afternoon. I've not given up on my parish, I just am convinced that we could be doing so much more. When I go to Mass there it feels as if we are offering out best selves to each other and not to God. The focus is so much on the "welcoming community" that it seems that God gets lost in the shuffle. I know that I seem a little standoff-ish and probably a little cold to my fellow parishioners. The fact of the matter is that I'm not at Mass to see them, I'm at Mass to take part in something that's bigger than all of us, and it is so easy to get seduced into thinking that the Mass is about us when everyone is so "welcoming" all the time.

Ugh. I feel a little better. This is a talk I've been needing to have for a while. :)

*There was a wonderfully cute baby being baptized today, so the topic was at least tangentially related to the goings-on of the Mass. But we do get this homily every week. *sigh*
**Truly, visitors and regular parishioners do feel welcome. There are lots of very nice, well-meaning welcomers in the pews on Sunday. It is a very friendly church.

I'm so sad

Next week is the last week of donuts after Mass. They hid this in tiny print in the bulletin, thinking nobody would notice.

This is incredibly depressing.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I don't care that people think that Bierstadt is overly romantic

Sure, it's an idealized view. It's probably a compilation of a dozen things that Bierstadt saw in a dozen other places - most of which were in the Yosemite Valley, to be sure. Did St. Anthony Falls ever look exactly like this? No, but you wished they did and that's one of the reasons that I like it.

Wherein I prove that I'm a girl and prone to emotional discontent

I've been really.... hmmmm... on edge for the last few weeks. Thankfully, the general feeling of incompetence has been defeated, and I am no longer worried that my new students will be cheated with me as their teacher. (That was kind of irrational on the face, so it's good that that's gone.) I'm 98% done with a task (scheduling lessons) which was causing more stress than I had anticipated. Everything is ready to go on the job front come Labor Day. :)

I was thinking last night about how glad I was that the 60-hr. a week marching band schedule (plus the 16 hrs. of private lessons) was not going to be for me this year. I was so excited. It's not that I was looking forward to the free time (because, truthfully, the lesson schedule isn't that much lighter time-wise) but it's that I was going to be spending my waking hours doing something that I really, really loved. Working with students one-on-one = awesome. Setting my own schedule = wonderful. There are just so many fabulous things that are going to come from this arrangement that I am just very thankful that I've been allowed to do this for a while.

But reality has kind of set in on what I'm doing, and that is what is causing the background of discontent. I realized last night what I had really signed up for in converting my studio to a full-time endeavor - I'm signing up for a year of being really lonely. It's going to be like this summer, only... for a whole year. I don't mind being alone (in fact, I quite prefer it to a variety of other arrangements), but I do mind being lonely. I don't get depressed or despondent about it, but I do get irritated. I tend to bake and read more. (Of course, I do those things when I'm happy, too, so the only conclusion one can draw from my reading and/or baking habits is that I'm either really happy or really irritated.)

Here's the thing, I know that the vast majority of my six readers are older and far smarter than I am. I'm wondering if any of you have been through something vaguely similar and can tell me if this is going to get better. If it is not, it would just be nice to know so that I can start building a larger sausage allowance into my budget. Comments or an e-mail (look in the sidebar) will be very much appreciated, if anyone has any words of wisdom to pass on. In the mean time, I'm going to be spending my next three-ish weeks of vacation listening to pleasant music and thinking of beautiful places and paintings. It's really not a bad life, it just comes with a little more tension than I had anticipated.

I'm going to be keeping an eye on

the comments here. It's really great to hear so many happy people talk about things like that. What a great idea. :)

Friday, August 12, 2005

If I lived in that other city in Texas

I'd so be here tonight watching Tron at midnight.

I suppose I'll make do with making some fabulous Friday dinner, instead.

Not next Friday, but the one after that

Looking at my calendar I notice that the opening weekend of high school football is exactly 2 weeks away. Frito pie in 2 weeks! Marching band halftime in 14 days! I can hardly wait.

As much as I hate marching myself, I do enjoy watching bands perform. (I know that admitting this makes me seem the equivalent of a marching band chickenhawk. I'm not, of course. Real marching bands don't need woodwinds. I play clarinet, therefore marching band doesn't need me. "Fanfare for the Common Man," however... I'll play that like God and Copland intended - with the clarinets. ;))

Anyway, Frito pie! Seriously, that is awesome.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Museums and talking etiquette

I was sitting on the bench in front of this painting this afternoon. I was letting my mind wander a little bit while doing so and was surprised to have my daydreams broken by a man who came from behind and asked if he could sit on the bench as well. I schooch over a little bit (unnecessarily, but it's an automatic response to a request like that) and get back to daydreaming. (Have I mentioned that I really, really like the museums in my city? They're wonderful and very rarely crowded. It's nice to be able to just sit for a while and not feel as if you are monopolizing a painting and preventing others from looking.) After some time, my benchmate asks if this is my favorite painting on display. I tell him that I really enjoy some of the paintings in the next room (Hudson River school landscapes... I'm such a sap), but that I do like this one very much as well, and I tend to stay a while if the bench is free and nobody else seems to be around.
I ask him about some of his favorites at the museum and he mentions a few pieces. I respond with approval (because the pieces he mentioned are very nice, indeed) and I return to daydreaming. Then, he gets up and says, "I have to get back to work, but it's been nice talking with you. You are fascinating. Would you like to continue this flirting session after work this evening?"

I was stunned and speechless for a couple of seconds because:
a) I wasn't flirting, I was just conversing
b) I was kind of miffed when he kept interrupting my daydream sessions
c) I sincerely thought it was just a nice conversation between museumgoers
d) I certainly wouldn't be flirting with a man who is wearing what looks to be a wedding band on his left hand

Extracting myself awkwardly from that situation and being accused by this man of leading him on, I am left with a few issues:

I'm not going to think about d) any longer. That's just incredibly unpleasant. Broadly, though, is every conversation that takes place between strangers just assumed by one party or another to be flirting? Should I have known that's what I was leading him to believe by answering his questions? I thought the questions about art preferences were serious questions about, well, preferences... do people just not ask those types of things without the intent of flirting? Am I the only one in the whole world who just has conversations with strangers without a thought to potential romantic involvement?

And most importantly,

When I am attempting to flirt it is completely ineffective and embarrassing but when I am not, apparently I'm "fascinating." What is wrong?

Yes, I know these are questions that need girlfriend attention. I'm out of those at the moment, so blogging will have to work, I suppose. ;)

And I really do like the Chase a lot.

The plan for today was

10:00 - Take my Coco to the vet and get her rabies shot.
10:45 - Bring Coco home and apologize for the vet trip with some kitty treats and a new toy.
12:30 - Meet a girlfriend in Dallas for lunch and to see Broken Flowers
3:00 - Seriously, really, honestly find some jeans so I'm not backed into wearing skirts all December.
4:30 - Drive back to Fort Worth and read a book with my kitty keeping me company.

This was the plan. Now that my girlfriend has plans even more exciting than meeting me (and, by extension, Bill Murray) for a date, my inner Amon Carter has come out and I have decided that a trip to Dallas is just not what I'd like to be doing. After the vet, I'm going to go to the museums on Camp Bowie and eat at Kincaid's. I might even make it out to the zoo.

Sure, it's not convincing the future American Airlines to move their headquarters to Fort Worth just to spite that other city, but I do what I can for my hometown.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I really need to start thinking things through

Without entering into any details at all, I'd just like to say that making chocolate chip cookies generally works best when one remembers to pick up chocolate chips at the store when there.

Sadly enough, this is fairly typical behavior from me. Several years ago, a good friend of mine who was building a house out in Utah excitedly sent me a copy of the blueprints. (It was a little weird to open my mailbox and see blueprints.) The next day, I sent a note of congratulations and a request for updates on the progress. Also in this envelope, I slid in quickly drawn up plans for my own "dream" house. I thought that she would find it funny and hoped that she would find it just as weird to open up her mailbox and see blueprints.

I got a call a couple of days later telling me that she got the letter I sent. She thanked me for my good wishes and told me that she really enjoyed looking at the plans for my home. She remarked that it was a little smaller than theirs (which it was, by design) but that she thought that the lay-out was nice and it seemed as though I put a lot of thought into it.

I was starting to get pretty proud of my little imaginary house. Then, though, it all came tumbling down. She pointed out that I had neglected to include a bathroom in my plans. And laughed at me. It wasn't with me.


So, in all future plans for housing, I will make sure that the bathroom is the first room drawn and in all future trips to the store I will pick up chocolate chips, even if I'm not planning on baking.

The circus is coming!

But I hear that the human cannonball got fired.
It's going to be difficult to find another of the same caliber.

This is why I like private lessons better than band class

I just got off the phone with the director of the band that brought me in to help clinic their clarinet section last week. We were setting up schedules for more master classes that will be coming up in the next couple of months and I also received some names and phone numbers for students who want to set up lessons for this semester. In the course of conversation he said that he had been called by a couple of parents this weekend who were concerned that the band directors (me, in particular) were too hard on their children this week.

This surprised me a little bit because I was exceptionally relaxed that week in running the rehearsals. I told the kids frequently how well they were doing as a section and that I really enjoyed helping out with such well-prepared clarinetists. They were thoughtful and listened (for the most part... it is the summer...) and I heaped on praise by the bucket-full. It was all sincere praise, and there was lots of it because I'm just that kind of teacher. I've had my share of music teachers who came in to class every day with another diatribe and I hated those classes. They were uncomfortable for the people who did come to class prepared and ineffective for those who had already given up. The band directing world is full of people who are bitter they aren't performing and they take it out on the kids. It's horrible to watch, and it is really the rule, rather than the exception.

In any case, I told the kids on Monday that they weren't here to learn the music, but to perfect the music that they had practiced at home. The next day, when about three quarters of the kids came in prepared and practiced and I got onto the other quarter for not being prepared, that hurt a couple of feelings. I didn't yell or tell them that they were worthless clarinetists, I just pointed out that the people who couldn't play the music and who hadn't practiced were unprepared and wasting everyone else's time while we taught it to them.

And then I moved on. I thought I made my point.

But that is too harsh, apparently. Two parents call in and tell the band director that "that girl" was mean to their children and that (as one parent said) it was probably racially motivated. They both cite the comment about "wasting everyone else's time" as proof of me being mean. *sigh*

I need a Dr Pepper... and vacation time. Both of which I have! :)

Not that she's reading today...

but I do want to let a friend in Utah know that I hope she has a happy birthday!

(This post will be like a little buried treasure in the archives when you're able to get back to consorting with heathens.) ;)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ummmmm... I hesitate to admit this in public

Because I really think the powers-that-be would take away my Texas membership card (which entitles me to, among other things, 25% off at the shooting range and six free jars of salsa in March) but...

I really, really would like some salt and vinegar potato chips right now.


I just wanted to note

That I am the very model of self-restraint and discipline.
Have I used this space to rant about the worst haircut I've ever received? (This past Saturday, by the way.)
Have I complained about how difficult it is to find a new pair of jeans (ones that aren't paint-splattered and/or have strange washes where the faux wear patterns are implausible and impractical for the washing machine)?

See, for all those who doubt that I have self-control, here is proof.

These animals, on the other hand...

Can you imagine how Catullus' blog would read?

Monday, August 08, 2005

With today's arrival

Of a new band CD with his Symphony No. 6 on it, I now have an (almost) equal amount of Vincent Persichetti and Johnny Cash sitting on my hard drive. Life is returning to good and balanced, I think.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A marching band program

Based on the life of St. Ambrose would be pretty awesome. The first movement could be a depiction of the Arians in Milan - lots of scatter drills, I suppose, would be in order. The music for the second movement could be an extended Ambrosian chant form representing truth in face of heresy. The great emotional apex of the show could take place after the Arians are expelled from the field and the band makes a great beehive form. The color guard could carry scourges...

See how perfect this is?!?!

All I need to do is invent an awesome weather machine that will make the summers in Texas bearable.

*sigh* I have to clean out my e-mail draft folder (becaue I know I have some odd things in there that won't ever be sent) and then I'll get to work composing this Ambrosian masterpiece. ;)

Plotting my agenda

and in doing so, checking the church bulletin to see what Mass I will be attending tomorrow. My choices:

Children's choir

Yeah. I'm totally going Spanish.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I'm enlightened

Mock apple pie is made from Ritz crackers? The things you learn at night while drinking and using Google...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Tomorrow is the last day of band camp

and working(!) (except for a few random organizing sessions scheduled at my leisure) so I'm off until Labor Day. Wonderful!

I feel like I've aged about 3 years over the past 5 days. Thankfully, it's just temporary, and I'll be back to normal by the end of the weekend. Frankly, I don't know how band directors do marching band year after year after year.... I'd just go crazy. Sarah and the summer sun don't get along, despite what the pleasant alliteration leads you to believe.

My bartender is leaving me for Dallas. It's not a tragedy, since I can make myself a mean gimlet at home but.... it really does suck. Yea for Paul that he's getting married, though!

This leads me to the next point of this rambling post*. All of my friends have gone and moved across the country and/or have gotten married. This is great, because I now have a neverending supply of new baby pictures. I really love the baby pictures. While I am incredibly happy that I have awesome friends who are starting awesome families and populating the nation with awesome Texan genes, I have had to come up with a new policy in my friendship handbook:
From now (August 4, 2005) on, if a friend of mine decides to move away and/or get married, (s)he must replace the gaping hole in my social calendar with a new friend.
I do this because I love being happy for everyone. If I continued in not having this policy, we all run the risk of my becoming a bitter woman who despises the happy developments of her friends. That's a lose-lose situation.

Also, if anyone has a couple of seconds to spare in order to say a prayer on my behalf, I'd really appreciate it. Nothing serious - I'd just be thankful.

*No, I don't socialize with my bartender outside of Lucille's. And I especially won't now that he's moving to Dallas and getting married. I'll be playing at the wedding. He's still a jerk, though,

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Band Camp Acoustics

Yesterday: Introduction to the harmonic series and the awesomeness of playing an instrument that overblows twelfths

Today: The Doppler Effect and introduction to resonance

Tomorrow: Administrative crap having to do with schedules and causing interruptions in my clarinet master classes. Jerks.

Friday: The magic of the (newly borrowed) oscilloscope!

If I could just have these kids skip marching rehearsal in the morning, we could really have some fun... ;)

As nice as it would be to relax with a glass of wine this afternoon

I think it might be bad form to come into music rehearsal having done that.

So, instead, I just poured myself a lovely Dublin Dr Pepper (special because it's made with real sugar and it's not that ersatz stuff with corn syrup).

This evening is going to be filled to the brim with ridiculous silly movies to be watched and lots of summer fruit to be eaten. Well, and work... but you can't bite the hand that feeds you, even if your contract doesn't officially start until September.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

They don't have marching band in Alaska, do they?

Two things said to me today, one of which (I hope) is just in jest:

Him: What's the difference between an administrator and a sack of fertilizer?
Me: I don't know.
Him: The sack.

"You know, for a Catholic, you sure do have a great Protestant work ethic."

Monday, August 01, 2005

I'm sunburned (sunburnt?)

So I kinda feel like a Commie. I think tomorrow at marching rehearsal I'll not wear the red shirt that I was planning to don.

Ahhhhh.... home for a bit

Morning rehearsal went well. The kids are excited to be back to marching because they're insane. It's a non-state year, so everything is a little more loose than normal. All in all, it was a nice introduction to a year where I am sooooo glad not to have to be the director. We'll see the differences in attitude when I stop by the other school (where it is a state year)tomorrow. Volunteering (except for the pay) is great. Especially when you can set the schedule. ;)

Lots of pictures of my kiddies to come. They're all adorable and sweet. Music rehearsal this afternoon will be wonderful... and INDOORS!!

I have a post all worked up addressing the awesomeness of technology in recent marching show design, but I can't edit it now because I'm eating fruit and replenishing my fluids lost from my day in the sun.

Have I mentioned the awesome kids that I saw today? Yes? Oh.

Because we love football here

I'm helping out at a marching rehearsal early this morning. I'll be able to see some of my private students and hear about the vacations they took with their families and what classes they are going to be taking in the fall. I'll dodge the personal questions (I'm getting better!) and try to give the inside story about what teachers they will love and which ones will get distracted in their lectures if asked about their days as a college mascot (a kangaroo!).

But none of this will erase the fact that it is hot outside.

Or that I don't much care for football. (Why can't we play at civilized sports? That's me - the far bottom left person in the "R") (Well... the link will have to come after rehearsal. Just trust me, it's a picture of my high school band playing at the opening day of The Ballpark in Arlington. THE opening day. Like, the first. When it was still The Ballpark in Arlington. We spelled out Rangers.)

Or that I have a ton of work to do when I get home.

Despite the fact that this is what I'd least like to be doing, life is good and sometimes I just can't stop smiling. And not just because I see this when I close my eyes from time to time. ;)