27 December 2010

thoughts after Christmas

As I wait for my Love to wake up, (on a day off when we're FINALLY at home) I am pondering.

Our Christmas was beautiful this year. It seems to just get better every single year! How grateful I am that we were able to spend it with family, traditions and love! I loved every minute of it!

I had an awesome time in worship at church on Christmas Eve.

My Love got a guitar for Christmas, and practices SO much! It makes me really happy to hear him.

I've had a new-to-me theological thought: leavened communion bread brilliantly reflects the theology of the churches that use it.

How I love '60s kitchenware.

Somehow I've suddenly become aware and very thankful that I was brought up in a home where the free discussion of different and opposing ideas, philosophies and religious and political theories was not considered a faux pas.

Also pondering next year and what it will bring, since all the changes in this past year were completely unexpected.

Pondering all that has changed since last Christmas, and it seems that everything has gotten better for many in our families, including us.

I am grateful not only for the blessings, but also that I am allowed to notice them.

21 December 2010

It's odd to think that the desire to be very grown up is childish.

I credit this thought to C. S. Lewis and not my own less inquisitive mind. Still, I am having an interesting time thinking about this thought today.

19 December 2010

among other things, an alternate view of Dallas

For whatever reason, it seems that Dallas is way more relaxing when you don't live there. AND when the company puts you up in a lovely hotel where you sleep really well, send your husband off to work in the morning and relax, crochet, drink coffee and paint your nails while you wait for your friend to come and pick you up. That was last Thursday.

This past weekend we stayed in a Dallas hotel again, this time for a dear friend's wedding. It was so much fun. We wore red dresses and got our nails done all together, and I was really, really happy for the couple. My dear Love was amazing, patient, and so sweet in helping me just be there for the bride. He ran errands, brought me breakfast, dropped me off, picked me up, transferred my getting-ready stuff from one hotel to another, and at one point, filled our sink with ice and had champagne waiting for me! He's a love.

Also, we got to have our dog with us this trip. It's so fun to have her in a hotel room, her funny excitement, her wagging tail and her careful jumping up onto the bed.

When the festivities were over and we had checked out of the hotel, we drove through our old neighborhood, past our condo (just to see the "contract pending" sticker over the "for sale" sign) and took our dog for a walk around the little pond where we always used to go. It was a perfect way to end the trip. I hadn't realized until then that there are things about our Dallas life that I really miss, even though Austin already feels like home. Speaking of home, we are finally back in our little apartment, eating tuna, watching football and planning Christmas.

08 December 2010

I couldn't sleep.

After several weeks of living under the crippling burden of sickening news, I give up: God is in charge.

Given my patterns of worrying, I believe that sometimes, in varying degrees of smallness. As a fallen being, it is impossible me to see things as they really are. God's perspective is so vastly different from mine, that I can only see what seems to be. In Isaiah 55, God says,

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 33 reinforces the fact that He does exactly as He plans, without letting human devices get in the way.

13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

The size of a king's army seems like it would have a lot to do with saving him in battle. But the Lord says it doesn't. He, the Lord, chooses what happens with kings, armies and battles, and every person whose heart He fashioned. Another Psalm says, "Some trust in horses, we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Some trust in chariots, we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Often I live as if so many other things can be trusted in. They can't.

With thoughts and situations more troubling than usual right now, there is nothing I can do but this:

20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

It's what I should do all the time.

Isaiah 26 (I can't remember which verse) says, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Having my mind "stayed on Him" is really difficult at the moment, but on the other hand, there really isn't anywhere else to go. He's the one in charge of the outcome, and I know He can be trusted. I don't know why horrible things happen, but I'm truly grateful to know the One who does.

22 November 2010

It's A Wonderful Life

I would just like to say that I love champagne. And the sorts of glasses it comes in. Champagne glasses are as good as or better than what comes in them!

Today is a day with my Love--he is off work, and I don't have to practice. I played some fun old music but did not practice anything!!! And we are drinking champagne and eating cheese and crackers and apples, and watching It's a Wonderful Life.

Champagne while watching a black and white movie is the best. And my Love is the best.

10 November 2010

Which Disney Princess Are You?

I took one of those facebook quizzes the other day, and got Ariel. I like The Little Mermaid well enough, and my Love even likes it, because it's a Danish fairy tale. At least, the Hans Christian Anderson version. There might be others, I don't know.

Anyway, the quiz result said these sorts of things about me:

"You are a stubborn, headstrong girl..."

"You would do anything for love, even risk other peoples' health and happiness..."

"You would also do everything you can to correct mistakes and misunderstandings..."

"Deep down, you seek the truth in things and follow your heart."

These are silly little time-wasting quizzes, but what I loved about this one was that my husband completely agreed with everything it said about me. All the things the quiz said about me, he says about me too. I just liked that.

08 November 2010


I've been so apathetic about my piano-playing lately. It demands too much energy and emotion to make the notes into music, and I feel I have a tired mind and dry spirit these days. I am always missing my Love, since he's been out of town every week for the past couple of months, and the pressure of recording soon is also taking from me.

Anyway, I just remembered another time in my life when I felt this way, tired and with nothing to give. At that point, I was reading along in the first couple chapters of Lamentations, vaguely wondering what I was supposed to get out of this seemingly boring book. I came to the bottom of the page, just before it was time to turn, and saw this:

But this I call to mind, and therefore have hope:

What a time to turn the page! I was surprised, after I turned, to see these words which I have sung all my life but had not thought about in quite some time:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.

The Lord is my portion. His sweet mercy of which I need so much, is new every morning, and belongs to me! He shares Himself with me- his creativity that spun huge galaxies and the intricacies of a Bach fugue, his mind that imagined sunsets, hunger and food, the richness of romance, chocolate, pumpkin rum pound cake and caramel apples. When my soul is dry, He is never lacking in beauty for my eyes and spirit, and love for my heart, and usually, even rich, lovely physical food.

He brought me to his banqueting table and His banner over me is Love. ~Song of Solomon 2:4

He is rich in all good things, and we are a part of those things if we stand under the blood of Jesus as God's children. Being included in and invited to goodness and good things reminded me of that picture so much.

And since He is rich in all that, I don't have to find it in myself, because honestly, I just can't. So when I play the piano and it comes out lovely and not dry, I know it's from Him and not me.

Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in You." ~Psalm 87:7

04 November 2010

THIS is what I think about...

...when I think about making clothes.

It's just the perfect kind of thing I always think about making. I saw it on this British style blog. Thinking about it is a good break from practicing and stressing about UT.

12 October 2010

After practicing...

I am left tired and hungry but amazed by the dizzying intellect that is Bach.

As a side note, I was in church while visiting my husband's sister and we sang one of my favorite hymns, O Sacred Head Now Wounded. Well, actually, we didn't sing the words I knew, (which I absolutely love) but the music was the same, a melody from a 1600s love song, later harmonized by Bach. Hearing it played on the organ made me almost imagine that I was in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, hearing Bach play it.

Anyway, back to the present, there's nothing like a 5-voice fugue to make you stand back in wonder.

Bach's stunning mind made fugues. And God made J.S. Bach.

11 October 2010

crying over spilled chicken

My darling blue hen-on-nest covered butter dish broke today. Well, the lid did, anyway. Dropped clumsily from seven or eight inches above, it shattered into a million pieces on the counter. I think anyone who has granite countertops on purpose is out of their mind. I'm a person who passionately loves each dish that I own, and the granite countertop has been cruel indeed, in the few months I've occupied this apartment.

But, I ordered a new butter dish online, and I'm very excited because it's jadeite!

Nothing special about jadeite, really, except that I've been obsessed with mint green for the past year or so.

In other news, we had a wonderful (and these days, rare) weekend at home together! A date at the riverwalk, dinner with family, a football game (not on TV) and Thai noodles. More later.

(For the record, I decided to cancel my order for the dear, green chicken. I liked it but I think I should just wait until I come across one randomly again and not spend $$ just to fix everything that breaks in my life.)

04 October 2010

When we get a house...

...I'm going to remember this:

I think it's so charming to have dishes stored out in the open. It's practical too, if they are things you use every day, like teacups, teapots and coffee mugs. I thought one usually could not do that without having those doorless cupboards that not many houses have these days, but just putting up your own shelves like this is a lovely idea!

29 September 2010

our favorite things

That last complainy post was just me keeping it real, I guess. I mean, I know I have such a fabulous life that I should never have stress or reason to complain. Living in such a wonderful place in a wonderful city, having my own piano and the time to use it, not having to go to work right now, having a patient husband who loves me and lets me take care of him, having family and childhood friends living nearby.

And suddenly perfect weather, which I celebrated last night with my first yoga bikeride, and also riding my bike all the way to my freind Ellen's house without being afraid about sharing the road with cars!

Anyway, since we are finally pretty settled here, I thought I'd do a post about our favorite things here in Austin. And the best part is, we can walk to most of them and bike to all of them!

The food trailers. They're all over town and there are cupcake trailers, snowcone trailers, sushi, barbeque, and mostly taco trailers.Tacos are my favorite but Hey Cupcake makes me happy too.

Then there's Stubbs, right next to our apartment:

where you can get barbeque...

or go to a concert in their backyard.

6th street isn't far away either. It gets pretty crazy at night. Here's what it looks like on a typical Friday or Saturday:

Woodrows is our favorite spot in 6th street. It's on the calmer end, where fewer college kids go. We walk there every Thursday night, and there's always a wonderful taco trailer parked right next to it.

Here is where we go late at night for great people-watching. Notice the glowy orange candles.

Here's Barton Springs. It's fresh, cold water, even in triple digit summers!

This is also one of our favorite walking places.

We love that Austin has so many lakes around it, with hike and bike trails.

And we also love that we live in the hill country now, and when you leave town, you see the blue hills far, far away on every side.

We just love living here.

Thanks to everyone who unwittingly contributed pictures though google images. This technologically incompetent person really appreciates it.

28 September 2010

Sorry about all the sunshine

An unmotivated day today. I would not allow myself to go out to the storage unit to look for my fall clothes, because I was supposed to practice. But I hardly did at all, so I should have gone.

Wanted to go outside and take a walk, but wouldn't let myself because I was supposed to practice, which didn't happen because I was dreaming of doing other things. None of which I did because I was supposed to practice.

I am going to try this thing called a yoga bike ride tonight with my dear freind Ellen. It's where you meet at a certain spot downtown and ride bikes for a while and stop at the park and do yoga. The yoga instructor leads it. I'm a little nervous about the ride because my bike doesn't have gears and Austin has some pretty big hills. The worst that could happen is I'd have to get off and walk up a hill, so it's not that bad. And I'm excited about the yoga part. This will be the only thing I have accopmlished today.

I think it wears me out to be away from my Love so much. In the last three weeks or so we have probably seen eachother for about 4 hours total. He has been traveling and working late nights, a couple Saturdays and even a Sunday! He likes his job, and is so sweet to time to be with me as much as he can, even in crunch time. I'll just be happy when this particular crunch time is over.

Oh, and the shooting at UT today just sort of made me sad. I was glad that the guy did not hurt anyone else though.

17 September 2010

Life's a fairytale

To me, the essence of a fairytale has something to do with the unseen and the unexpected, the way it ends. It always has to do with truth, love and beauty, and with evil and ugliness going away.

I've been thinking about how life is really the ultimate, true fairytale. Not because I'm young, and nothing bad has ever happened to me yet, but because I know a God for whom truth and beauty are the rule and death is not the end, and love conquers all.

14 September 2010

mars hill

How has 20th-century science fiction encouraged the rise of new religious ideas? What motivates so many people to seek celebrity status, and what sorts of institutions enable their quest? How do modern assumptions about freedom differ from those held in pagan antiquity and by premodern Christians? How did the 1960s counter-culture mutate into the 1980s cyber-culture? How do educational technologies affect our assumptions about what education means? How might concern for redemption survive in some films that seem relentlessly dark? Why is sociobiology a bad place to look for convictions to sustain political life?

I took these questions from a little pamphlet that came with my subscription to Mars Hill Audio Journal, given to me for my birthday by my brother, Stephen, who himself is a longtime subscriber and from time to time has shared issues with me over the years. Those questions above are listed in their brochure as examples of "the sorts of issues that deserve thoughtful consideration by Christians who are eager to understand the shape of contemporary culture."

I have always felt driven to be a student of cultures, histories and languages, at times without quite knowing why. This wonderful journal brings up answers, opinions and questions that have never occurred to me, as well as reminding me why I search. It follows everything from literature, art and music to technology and philosophy- one of the best birthday presents ever!

Hear a free sample here. :)

10 September 2010

a new thought for fall

I've been thinking that I should just calm down and have a nice Fall. A Fall with my practicing, my yoga video, my cooking, my reading list, my learning German, and my Love having a happy job. When else might I ever have a Fall like this? Stop stressing, stop putting things off and stop being scared about graduate school. And stop hiding from the next step.

07 September 2010

I'm 71% neurotic?

In my Bible this morning, I found a note card with the results of a personality test scribbled across it, Steves results on one side, mine on the other. I don't know how long ago we took it (I found it in Daniel 6), or even what test it was, but looking at it made me laugh at how different we are.

It rated certain salient qualities, and here's how we came out:

Openness: Steve, 76% Me, 90% (I do just like to get everything out there.)

Conscientiousness: Steve, 89% Me, 10% (I guess I don't really care, y'all.)

Extraversion: Steve, 4% Me, 91% (not surprising)

Agreeableness: Steve, 87% Me, 44% (not surprising either. It seems that being right is often much higher on my list that being agreeable. I'm working on that.)

Neurotic: (what does that even mean?) Steve, 43% Me, 71%

So thank you for that assessment, now anonymous personality test. You can clearly see who is the kind, quiet person, and who is the loud, careless, neurotic one. And since the parenthetical comments are only about the author, it would be fun to see what Steve would say in his parenthetical comments, if he had a blog and made a post like this.

In other news, we had a really awesome time together all Labor Day weekend! :)

03 September 2010

book review by a stubborn girl

Steve and I are starting a new year in Bible Study Fellowship, studying one of my favorite books ever, Isaiah. The closer it gets the more excited I am. We have not done a structured Bible study together since the one where we met!

I was thinking this morning on why I've loved Isaiah so much ever since I first read it. Its main themes match the over-arching themes of the Bible: the rebellion of Gods people and His anger, judgement and mercy towards them. Being a thoroughly stubborn person myself, I really identify with Isreal when God calls them "an obstinate people" and says that their neck is made of iron and their forehead of brass. This is an accurate picture of how I am naturally, without God's grace.

Knowing the awful kind of person that I am without Jesus makes me so passionate and excited about these parts of Scripture--the parts about God's mercy on a stubborn people. It's just too awesome that God allows me to see the other side--the part that He plays when His people rebel. Part of it is awful judgement, but the other is the mercy.

Psalm 107 is a little like a condensed version of Isaiah. I ran across that it when I was 15 or so, and it struck me then, and still does now, because it lays out four awful people and their situations and shows what God does to change them. It makes me so happy because each one of the rebellious people described is me. They are what I look like without God, confused and in sad circumstances, brought on by rebellion. And each one is rescued in a different way by God's mercy. They have ashes and He makes beauty out of them!

And knowing that He is my God, too, and does for me what He did for them, and gives me beauty for my ashes, is the most amazing thing in my life and it is what I try to live under. It is easy for me to forget, by being caught up in the moments of living and stress, but the ultimate fact of my life is Gods mercy. I can never stop being so touched and so excited by it.

27 August 2010

raquel allegra

I noticed this designer a couple of seasons ago, and I'm hooked on everything she does. I want to wear all of these clothes every single day.

I love the colors, the soft look of the fabric, its flow and statuesqueness. The clothes pictured here aren't her latest designs (although I love them too), but they just speak to me. Don't you love looking at them?

22 August 2010

A burning thought for this evening:

Part of being truly classy is being able to get over it when you see people who aren't.

10 August 2010

a musing

In the last decade, I have become conscious of the fact that people who lack imagination have an extra capacity for hurting my feelings.

I do not have words to fully explain this. If you have an imagination, you probably understand perfectly already. If you don't, I can't help you.

It must sound snobby, but I feel so sad for people who don't have one. It is not an I'm-better-than-you kind of feeling; it's an I'm-so-truly-sorry-you-have-to-live-that-way feeling. I want to reach out to people whose imaginations are dead, but their misunderstanding responses hurt me almost as much as thinking what their lives must be like.

God must have a perfect imagination. Even the most brilliant human imagination would be nothing compared with His. Perhaps that's why He never hurts me in that odd way. I know we cannot all be the same, but I think that, when we were created in God's image, we must have been meant to have some of His amazing, imaginative creativity. No doubt, many still have a tiny touch of what that must have been like. When Christ's kingdom comes on earth, and we are whole, like Him, as we were meant to be, maybe we will all have good imaginations again.

09 August 2010

drum-roll, please.

I can't hold it in any longer. I've tried all my life to enjoy baseball. I've tried many different self-manipulative strategies over the years to make myself like it: I've pretended, in hopes that real feelings and interest would come, I've liked it for the sake of friends who love it, I've eaten more than I thought possible at games just to keep from death by boredom. Once, I even made it a part of my old favorite rain-or-shine pastime: flirting. That was loads of fun, and the bat boy gave me a ball, but all this to no avail.

Like every normal American, I have some wonderful memories having to do with being taken to baseball games, that I would not trade for the world. But (as I am finally able to admit to myself) when I go to games, I enjoy everything but the game: the junk food, the jumbo-tron, the people-watching, the company of whoever I go with, but I could care less if there is baseball going on along with all that. In fact, I'd rather there not be. It distracts from conversation since those interested always have to pay attention to the game at all costs. And when, heaven forbid, I happen to be with someone who is watching baseball on TV, I find myself breathlessly looking forward to the commercials. At the end of summertime, when football and basketball are long gone and all that is happening is baseball, even my favorite sports radio station gets almost completely boring!

So, it is with unbridled relief that I announce, after nearly three decades of effort, farce and staunch denial, that I don't really like baseball! Football and hockey are wonderful, basketball keeps me entertained, and even golf is at least surrounded by beauty but, in my oh so relevant opinion, baseball in and of itself, without food and good company, does not quite make the cut to being called "interesting."

05 August 2010

a thought for the morning

Once again, my brother Stephen concisely articulates an idea that I've often thought about in a very blurry, non-verbal way, but never could have said:

"Given the universe we live in, its richness of detail and endlessly changing variety, given the quantity and quality of the characters, the Mandelbrot fractal of a shape their relationships make and how each of us fit into all of it, with our five plus different ways of sensing the world, I can only conclude that the reason any of us (even occasionally) find ourselves bored has to be some deep-seated and profound blindness that is, in a way, more mysterious than anything else."

Just for the record, I don't know what a Mandelbrot fractal is, but I think the blindness he speaks of must be because we are fallen creatures, who have sinned. We are not quite what we were meant to be, so it is too difficult for us to fathom the wonderful universe and even more, the God who made it. I am so excited that that will change when we get to Heaven!

These thoughts bring to mind something C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory:

The faint, far-off results of those energies which God's creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what now we call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management. What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which these lower reaches prove so intoxicating?

In this essay, which I always think of when I am trying to figure out Heaven (I did a post about that once), Lewis also speaks of the peculiar craving that beauty awakens in us; how beautiful music or a sunset, while we enjoy them so much, still leave us feeling that something is missing, or that we did not enjoy the beauty as much as it could have been enjoyed. I cannot remember exactly how he put it, but he speaks in the end of how, when we are with the Lord, we will be able to fully understand and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the universe. He calls it "getting in."

Every time I think about these sorts of things, I am so overwhelmed and happy. Happy that God is so good and that He will one day allow us to enjoy Him fully.

04 August 2010

Memory of the Day ~ my swing

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

These words remind me of my dad's voice, and my old swing he made for me for my 7th birthday. My mother painted my name on it, in curly yellow letters, with flowers all around them. Daddy would swing me and quote Romans 8, bit by bit, having me say it after him, until I had it memorized.

Swinging and learning that scripture from my dad is one of my most engrained memories from childhood. The swing was attached, next to Kristin's blue-lettered one, with long yellow ropes to a branch high on of one of the huge oak trees in our front yard. That branch has long since been chopped off and probably burnt in our fireplace. The swing wore out completely, and what remains of it might still be in the garage. But I remember the first half of Romans 8 as well as any line from Disney's Robin Hood or That Darn Cat, or any other of the childhood movies we obsessed over with our friends the Shenks.

Thank you, Daddy. :)

26 July 2010

thoughts on today

I think these pretty lilies in the new background look a little scary (THEY'RE GOING TO ATTACK!!!), but I really liked the green circles.

I am really tired and my brain is having a lot of trouble getting prepared for my piano lesson tomorrow. We will leave Austin tomorrow in time to be in Dallas by 9AM, Steve for his meeting and me for my lesson, and to repaint the complained-about front door of our condo.

On our weekend trip (more later), Steve took us all to Castaways and I got a heavenly soft LUX shirt-dress nightie, pink paisley pants by Elevenses, a beautiful pair of pink and green wings (my Love says you can always use a good pair of wings), a navy shirt to replace my falling-apart one, and a milk bottle to put red wine in.

I am making this stew for dinner. I hope the Bulb Hunters don't hunt me for borrowing their picture:

After an unexpectedly late night full of much driving and singing last night, I am going to eat a ton of it and drink some red wine and go to bed this evening at about six o'clock.

22 July 2010

I want candy

It occurred to me today that an adult is only a child who knows how to control itself.

Of course, I know. Of course. I've just never defined it that way for myself. But it's true. Adults (and I guess I'm speaking for myself here) are just as whiny, it's just they don't whine out loud (most of the time). We all just walk around controling our inner child, I suppose. It's just a funny way of thinking of it that struck me today. And I don't know about anyone else, but I have conversations inside my head a lot of times that go:

"I want that."
"Maybe tomorrow, or after you've accomplished something."
"But I just want it now."
"No! Just walk away."

And then I finally agree with myself and walk away and find something else to be happy about, but isn't that weird?

I wonder if it happens to anyone else. It happened to me in Whole Foods today, by the soap, by the cheese, and then again by this display they call Candy Island. I felt like I was firmly monitoring a child, and then I realized it was just me.

I don't usually use the word "suck."

There are some groups of people whose manner of living life and expressing themselves is so different from my own, that I know that about 95 percent of what I say around them is sure to be completely misunderstood. It's really discouraging, so I just end up hardly talking at all whenever I am with those sorts. Which is fine; I don't have to talk, but when I don't, I'm afriad of being thought to be bored or snobbish. When I'm with my best friends or my family, I am one of the most talkative, witty, even outspoken. But with some people, I can hardly comment on the moment, much less tell a story, and the more I talk to them, the less they respond and the stupider I feel.

It's not that I'm not uncomfortable around new people. Sometimes with mere acquaintances you know you're on their wavelength and they're on yours. I'm just talking about people who are extraordinarily difficult to get to know, and in the meantime, you're pretty sure of being 5 percent understood. How does one overcome that? And the worst of it is, in my current situation, I know that I'm the one who is hard to get to know, I'm the one who is strange and unfathomable and misunderstandable. And there's really nothing I can do about it. I never wanted to be normal, but I didn't realize that being from an out-of-the-ordinary background could be so inconvenient. Most of the time it's more than worth it, but other times it kind of sucks.

19 July 2010

words, words, words

How many trillions upon trillions upon gazillions of words have I heard in my lifetime? It must be equal to the number of stars in the Milky Way, and maybe more. My first thought is, no wonder I speak this language, the English language. How could I possibly help it, with the sheer number of words have been thrown at me again and again and again?

I picked up a pencil to doodle on some paper, and words came out onto the paper, filling it in a very short time. Words, random words, and phrases I've heard that I'll never forget. Simple things, but the sort of combinations of words that always stick in our minds, like "Two plus two equals four." Movie quotes: of the millions of them stored in my brain, fifteen or twenty poured out from the pencil almost without my knowledge or permission.

"My clumsy hand!"

"Clumsy me!"

"...odds and ends to buy..."

"Just charge everything to good old Mitch. He's loaded."

"Katie Scarlett O'Hara!"

"He's got his tiger."

"What goes on in that pea-brain of yours?"

"I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?"

"Why anyone would wanna be an orphan is beyond me!"

And then, from a note I saw today in my aunt's kitchen, written by my cousin to her mother:

"Take some to work. Tomatoes, rice, potatoes, salt. Yummy and fresh!"

Writing is one thing, and that happens to have stayed with me and come out with the rest, in pencil, but it really is the spoken word that dominates our lives.

Obviously, we could speak any language easily if we could hear it that much! That is rather comforting, since I aspire to learn so many. Not that I will ever be able to hear any of the languages on my list that much, but it comforts me that speaking them would be so inescapable if I could. I'd love to go on a fast from English, but it pours and pours and gushes around inside my mind. French trickles and sometimes flows, Spanish attaches itself, unbidden, to everything, but German has not quite found enough room.

On n'habite pas dans une paye, on habite dans une lange. (One does not live in a country, one lives in a language.)

This quote was somewhere in my very first French textbook. How incredibly true. Language changes the objects around you. When you first start learning a new language, a bad (but normal) habit is to translate each word in your head to what you know it means in English, instead of letting the new word become it's own symbol of it's meaning, if that makes sense. How different the world becomes when, instead of thinking "Tisch means table," you look at a table and SEE ein Tisch. Different to see das Fenster and not the window, after all. And these are only objects that we use to live our lives. What about life itself, it's complexities and feelings and flow? All tongues have humanity in common, but if everything is represented by different words than you're used to, there really is some slight difference in your reality. Some people would say words are words, that a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. That's quite a compliment to the rose I guess, but by any other name it would not be a rose!

It's something to think about.

17 July 2010

dreams & reality

People keep getting after me to post agian, and I guess the only reason I had not was because time has been moving so fast that I thought I just did. Things have been happening. There have been places to go and people to see, audition pieces to learn, and not much time to catch my breath. I have been trying so hard to be effiecient with my time- and being even remotely efficient takes a lot of thought for me- that even my dreams have been hurried and hectic. I remember trying to use one dream as efficiently as I could.

A few nights ago I dreamed that my grandfather died. A few other things happened in the dream too, but his death was the main thing. It was handled so strangely by the family, I can't even tell how, but I just remember thinking, "This is not how our family usually does things; I think this is a dream." As the dream continued, I became certain I was dreaming. You'll have to forgive that I was not too sad anymore about the death from then on, knowing I would wake up and it would never have happened.

Still in my dream, I ended up randomly at my normal HEB, a good place even in dreams. I thought, "I know I'm dreaming, but in reality we're out of bread, so even though this is a dream, I better get some bread while I'm here, so that when I wake up, I won't have to make another trip to the store."

Back to reality for a second: This dream also happpened the night after I broke one of my favorite bottles of perfume. It smashed so hard on the tile bathroom-cupboard floor that I could not even hear the shattering sound. That put a damper on my day for a while, so that night, when I realized I was dreaming, I also thought, "Since this is a dream, maybe I'll wake up and my perfume won't be broken anymore."

"No," my dream-self said, "That happened while you were still awake." I had to take this chance to try to save my big, pink Ed Hardy Love Kills Slowly, and I said stubbornly back, "But I got bread, even though this was a dream. Let's just say that that bottle broke during the dream, so now it wont be broken." My dream self wouldn't have it.

I always hear that when people have lucid dreams, they use them to try to do something that they would never be able to do in reality, like flying, or kissing someone they secretly love, or punching a teacher or colleague or someone they can't stand. I always thought I would do that too (not so much the kissing one--I don't have to be in a dream to kiss my Love, although I would) but the punching one is especially exciting. I've flown in dreams without knowing I was dreaming before. But no, I did not try to do any special thing, I just wanted to fix something I broke and be more efficient with my day by not going to HEB twice.

When I woke up, I did not have any bread for toast, my grandfather was still alive, and my bathroom still smelled strongly of fruity, pink floral top notes.

19 June 2010

let's be honest with ourselves

I always say, somewhat snobbishly, that I have no room in my head for modern celebrities. I think and care about history and theology, about how languages fit together, how music fits together, how siblings fit together, and how my clothing and accessories fit together, not about what some narcissistic idiot I don't even know wears to Starbucks! I subscribe to a couple of fashion magazines, but I don't know how people can stand to read those Hollywood gossip magazines they have by the checkout in grocery stores! Such trash. Is there really anyone who reads those?

Well, the other day I bought one such publication, whose title I had never heard of and cannot remember. Like probably everyone else who reads these things (if those people really exist), I bought it because of what was on the cover. It was Prince William. Somebody heard somebody heard somebody say that someone told someone told someone told someone that he might get married. I paid $3.99 for that information, plus a couple of pictures.

Anyway, the shocking fact that I bought the magazine prompted my realization that I do want to know more about some celebrities. Agyness Deyn, for instance. I've paid lots more for magazines with her in them and on them. Of course that was British Vogue --a good $10 to $12 if you're buying it in the US-- but I didn't have to have it for the fashion inside that time. Agyness is a british supermodel who I think is so cool. Ditto for Kate Moss; I'd buy an article about her. Or the queen. I'd buy something with Queen Elizabeth on the cover a lot sooner than something with Michelle Obama or Laura Bush.

Foreign gossip. British. It's as interesting and alluring and fun as their accents. Maybe the American Hollywood scene is so unattractive because it already rules the entertainment world, and don't even get me started on all the reality show stuff. But give me British supermodels or British royalty any day and I'll eat it up. Which I suppose makes me a hot tea-drinking, accent-mimicking hypocrite. But I'd rather just be that than read American celebrity gossip.

I'll just leave you with these lovely shots of Agy:

17 June 2010

watch this

This video articulates something I have often thought about and also been guilty of. (I know, there's a preposition on the end of that sentence. Sometimes things are not as they should be.)

15 June 2010

oh please.

A conversation I had recently has stuck in the forefront of my thoughts for the last week or so. I mentioned to someone, a person who knows how to play the piano, albeit not a degreed musician, that I have a lot to practice before I can play well enough to audition for graduate school. Probably at least a part-time job's worth of time at the piano for the next few months. And this person did not believe me at all. This person thought I was being too modest. This person thought I was a perfectionist. This person seemed to think I was just saying that to be nice, and actually said they thought I could walk up to UT and play right now, and UT would let me in. (A lovely vote of confidence. I appreciated how it was meant. I mean, she was just being kind. Maybe I just don't get that kind of politeness.) I don't think this person reads my blog, but I feel compelled to say a few things in response, just to clear my head. Those of you who know me well probably already know this:

I am not an overly modest person nor a perfectionist. I leave things when I know they could be better. My sight reading isn't the best, and I only work on it whenever I want to, which is mostly never. I procrastinate. I'm sort of selfish, and sometimes I think rude things. I leave my kitchen, my bedroom, and my thighs alone when they could be much improved. I'd rather be happy than perfect. As a pianist, I've never had very solid technique, and while that worries me a bit, I don't do much about it. And my modesty goes as follows: I can naturally play by ear. I think most things I cook are delicious. I think I am rather musical. I think I am pretty well-rounded. I think I have a gift for learning languages. I think I'm a pretty nice person. I think I interpret Chopin way better than a lot of other pianists. I think I'm a pretty good catch for my husband. I think I'm tolerably pretty and have a mostly spot-on sense of style. And I think it will be a hell of a lot of work for me to get into graduate school.

Thank you.

13 June 2010

exultant complaining

My husband is sleeping. He seems to be catching up on sleep lost months ago, before he even left Dallas. Change can make you so tired and hungry, not to mention give you a terrible cold.

Sometimes, when my dear Love sleeps during the day like this, I can't quite get motivated to do anything but wait for him to wake up. On days that he is away at work, my mind is more settled in the familliar routine, but this lovely afternoon, I cannot do any of the little things on my mind. Nothing sounds interesting except being with him. Practicing does, but probably only because I can't do it, since it would wake him up. So blogging seems the next best thing today. I will blog a little about my new life...

What has changed since I moved here?

Well, I now buy fresh eggs at $2 a dozen from the little ranch where my sister works.

I have time to work out now, but still don't. I think I'm waiting til I can dance again.

I can walk to the library from our apartment, and am getting my own library card soon!! This is the best thing, second only to having HEB, since I've come from a place where they make getting a library card incredibly difficult, and even sort of expensive (well maybe not, but definitely not free), and I could not have my own because Steve already had one! They discourage more than one per household, which I thought was very mean.) But here it's easy, and I am allowed my own! I have already been to our library once and checked out (on Steve's card since I still don't have mine) some books about jazz voicing.

I would love to just break out into an "I'm so glad to be out of Dallas because..." song right now. It's negative, I know. I should want to say "I love Austin because..." but the facts of the matter are, that nearly all the things I love about Austin are quite common in every other part of our state. (Well, except the music scene, which is of course a huge deal. And the myriad taco stands. I've never seen so many and they're all awesome! I'm very soon going to be fat from tacos alone.) Only Dallas is strange and harsh and doesn't let you have a library card if one person in your family already has one. Only Dallas doesn't have HEB. Only Dallas is severely unfriendly to cyclists and pedestrians. And out-door seating at restaurants is entirely too rare there, and bringing your dog to one is unheard of.

I could go on, but I really shouldn't. I just heard Steve coughing. Poor thing. This really is a very lingering cold. Maybe I'll go see if he wants to listen to the audio book we're currently "reading."

I just think it's going to be a great summer! :)

28 May 2010

happiness and over-harsh criticism

I am happy to live in downtown Austin and near the hill country, where the night air smells as it should; happy to have sheer white curtains with knots at the bottoms like I saw everywhere in the apartment windows in Chicago, happy to be able to walk to the pharmacy and the post office, (happy to be able to walk, period!) and happy to have a husband so happy with his new job.

I am happy to clean my apartment, happy to correct people's grammar, happy to have time to practice. (But will I?)

I read this article in Smithsonian magazine (we have a gift subscription) last night. Its tone seems quite serious to me, but judging by the content, it is a feeble or perhaps too subtle an attempt at tongue-in-cheek. It cannot mean to be taken seriously. If so, it is an arrogant display of blatant ignorance of the purpose and tradition of stories and storytelling, whose author seems a product of some sad, sanitized, politically correct "utopia" where truth does not exist and morals are relative. If meant as satire, it fails rather miserably at being witty, funny or enlightening, as any good satire ought to be. If this is the best the magazine can do in the humor department, what is one to make of their supposedly serious articles? Just putting it out there...

Today I am going to clean, practice, hopefully manage to squeeze in my long overdue physical therapy exercises, and make a blueberry pie.

06 April 2010

I think I have not blogged in so long because living alone is mildly depressing to me. Steve's new job in Austin started just a few days after my last post, almost a month ago. We have seen each other at least every weekend since then, but adjusting has been harder than I ever thought it would be.

The depression is something of a shock, since being alone has never been hard for me. In fact, it used to be inspiring, liberating and all sorts of nice things, even since I was married. But living alone, I respond by being totally uninspired. Maybe it's because of my crutches, which make doing things sort of hard, but that just doesn't sound like it would matter to me if I had the inspiration and energy to make something happen. Anything. Piano, sorting out closets, studying German, shopping for wedding shoes, reading, anything.

I think I just need to adjust and then I'll be fine.

09 March 2010

how dare you think I'm not busy?

(Not you personally.)

I've been so sick these days that I have forgotten that what I have been waiting for has finally happened: it is now okay to publicly mention that we are moving to Austin! I am so excited I can't stand it! We have a little apartment down town that we will live in until we have had time to get to know the area and find a house.

Anyway, more later. I have been pondering why I should be so sick so often. I do not have children, a stressful job, or a stressful husband. Why am I all the time tired and worn out? It must be something I do to myself. Just an aimless pondering. Although if I could find out, I could fix things.

I rarely sit down. Well, not as much as I could. I even less often sleep late, even though I could almost every day. Once at a family gathering, I commented to a distant relative, " Oh, I would never have been able to be ready for this trip if we had tried to leave before 5 anyway." Or something to that effect. She seemed genuinely shocked when she relied, "Really? What were you busy with?"

What was I busy with? I was rather annoyed at her presuming that I have time on my hands. What am I ever not busy with?

But slowly it dawned on me that, to a sort of, well, for lack of a better word, outsider, my life looks as if it should not be busy at all.

I teach about 13 hours a week or so. A mere fraction of most peoples' work weeks. Add to that coming and going, and keeping the house spotless for the students who come here. Fine.

Dance classes 7 to 8 hours a week. That's by choice, and it only takes up 3 mornings. It's the
only work-out I have, besides the occasional hour on Saturday at the gym with Steve.

Practice? I practice rather inconsistently, several hours a week right now. So, not much.

All I have to worry about is our itty bitty condo and Steve, who is so low-maintenance. Indeed, what could I possibly be busy with?

Well, hmm... I do cook a lot for us, even though I don't have to. Steve is happy with sandwiches or whatever. I probably cook almost as much as I will when we have kids, because I am always making huge pots of something to put in the freezer or something I can pop in the oven the second I get home from teaching.

I do sit down and facebook, sometimes. Not even every day anymore. Probably more days than not, but not for hours on end. And I obviously don't blog terribly regularly.

I don't have any TV shows that I watch regularly. I never watch TV during the day, and only maybe in the evening with Steve. I do talk on the phone a lot to my mother, father, brothers and sisters. A lot. And a few friends I talk to now and then. And laundry and walking the dog and buying groceries. Thinking up, and then locating and buying, music for my students to play. Going places on the weekend to see family. I don't know. Studying my favorite languages semi-regularly. Going to lunch with a friend. Painting a piece of furniture. Reading the occasional book. It just seems that every day goes by and I hardly sit down during it, except to teach.

Of course, it's annoying that people assume otherwise, but I think they just project their un-busy lives on me.

19 February 2010

if you're interested

Some days are picture perfect, even if they're simple, or full of un-unique sorts of pleasures. Some days are especially perfect if you forget to mention that you spent part of them teaching.

Today, I wore my new boots, and a fun old ragged-edged striped skirt with a bustle. I wore my pink sunglasses. And, just as a side note, I am enjoying my last month as a redhead. That's another story.

After dinner at the mall with my mom and sister, I came home with a new black Kenneth Cole shirt ($22!), my tummy full of Chinese food, and my neck drenched in Parisian perfume. I didn't practice as much as I should have today, but I did go to an extra ballet class, and when I got home from the mall, I sat down at the piano and a beautiful, old standard sounding sort of imrpov came tumbling out. I felt sort of surrounded and inspired by the perfume, and the music just sort of went with that.

I am currently on the couch wearing socks, (very important) lovely soft jammies and dr. pepper chapstick. Drinking chamomile tea and eating some belated Valentine's chocolate from a student, watching the Olympics.

01 February 2010

memoirs of a good day

Today is a new month. I have a new grocery allowance, a new lease on catching up on my Bible study, and I have practiced a million times more than I had the beginning of last month. It was a happy day today. Here is what happened:

I went to the grocery store and got some awesome groceries that we really needed. Now we finally have CEREAL!!!

Our bed got clean sheets on it. (it's always good to have brand new clean sheets, especially when half the usual occupants of your bed are animals!)

Not that having animals is an excuse for changing the sheets, I mean, I would have done it anyway. Is this tmi? Okay, moving on...

I made a TON of rich, good chicken stock.

Well, not really a ton. More like a couple of gallons, actually.

I had tea and chocolate pound cake.

I changed my calendar in the piano room, and taught a little boy who is playing three actual classical pieces and nothing out of method books. Woohoo!! :)

I scrubbed and scrubbed my kitchen. See? Here is my cute little sink area in the process of being cleaned.

I made bread and creamy potato soup, and talked into the night with my husband about possibilities.

new trend/blogging habit

I am suddenly posting a lot more on the fashion blog I have with my sister. :) It was a really dead blog for a really long time, and it's finally not, so go check it out!

27 January 2010

Excuse me a moment.

Sometimes, late at night, I just want to say things. I have specific things in my mind that I wish I could say, to people and also just to nobody. So I suppose I'll just say them now. Nobody listen, okay? And if you are listening, these phrases are not about you. Here goes:

1. Why do Dallas moms annoy me when I see that they are SO skinny and well-kept and worked out and made up? It's because it looks like they spend WAY more time on themselves than on anything else in their lives altogether, let alone their kids. But then, when I see obvious "home school" moms, I'm equally annoyed that they seem to think it's a deadly sin to spend any time on their appearances at all. And it's a deadly sin not to have '80s hair.

{Disclaimer: I mean to utterly ignore my audience (supposing I have one) in this post, but I must say that if you're a home school mom and you happen to be reading this, I'm sorry. You are present company, and you're excluded. I've seen all that I can see about what it takes without actually being the mom myself. I've seen my own mother for the past 30 years, 26 of which were spent (and are still being spent homeschooling. My mom is really strong, but I've seen the numerous nervous breakdowns of others who tried what she did. I've seen the denim jumpers, I've seen everything. I know, you don't have time for yourself. I admire you. I get it. I will probably be you someday. I just don't know why on earth so many women, these people with no time at all to claim for their own, can somehow still have '80s hair. I could show you pictures of them by the thousands. But there are nice, well-balanced, pretty moms who wear what they want and don't have cutting edge hair, and they are fine with me. Even pretty ones are fine, or stylish ones, I just, I don't know... there is just that certain kind in Dallas sometimes. Anyway, I'm rambling...}

2. Oh, but I'm supposed to be rambling tonight. Going from point to point, saying non-specific things that require explanation, and then not giving it. Saying things that require being backed up with facts, and then not giving any. Kind of like someone else did tonight. (Today is Wednesday, January 27th.)

3. I am sad because I might not get to go to this once in a lifetime bridal shower in March in San Antonio.

4. I do not require being made to feel better.

5. Oh, you wouldn't be interested, since it's about things you've never thought of and I'm sure you couldn't bear to have a new idea imposed upon your mind.

6. I am excited about life. Something big is about to happen I think... Perhaps it wont, but it might.

7. Why do so few people understand the grammatical structures of their native English? It's highly annoying. I passed a bookstore, a Christian bookstore, which had letters in the window that said, "Let your cup runneth over." Now, I am aware that the 23rd Psalm says, in the King James Version, "My cup runneth over." But if you want to let yours run over, it's a completely different matter, and there is no use for the '-eth' in that case. These days, the suffix '-eth' has been replaced by '-s' or '-es' depending on the word. So, if I said, "Let your cup run over," there would not be an 's' unless I made a mistake and said "Let your cup runs over," which would be ridiculous. I had this figured out before I could read, I'm sure. (I had heard the Psalms in the King James plenty of times by the time I was 7 which, yes, is how old I was when I could finally read.) You see, I've never been the brightest, but isn't this obvious? And I don't have much hope that anyone else understands it. I know my mother and siblings do, but I have tried to explain it to other people and they just stare at me blankly or with thinly veiled boredom. I have seen 'eth' misused hundreds of times, besides that instance. But aside from this problem, there are so many other more pressing and habitual misunderstandings of grammar that I am just no longer disposed to withhold internal judgments on the people who misunderstand. I'm sure they have had ample opportunity to learn.

One time, in a college English class, sentences were written up on the overhead so that we could practice finding and correcting the passive voice. One of the sentences, I quote verbatim, because I have never forgotten, said, "To error is human, to forgive is divine." When my turn came to speak up, I tried to point out that 'error' is a noun, and the verb is 'to err.' Nobody understood or would listen any further, not even the teacher. (I don't think she deserves to be called Professor.) Yes, of course that is mean of me. She was probably so wrapped up in wanting us to understand the passive voice that she thought I was just misunderstanding and not finding it, and missed the point entirely. I hope. But I thought I explained it pretty clearly.

8. Speaking of thinly veiled boredom, I am writing a random story, to post soon. I was inspired by some pictures in Vogue a few months ago.

9. This keyboard on my shiny new black computer feels good to type on.


There is finally a new post on the beauty blog today. Go check it out! :)

101st post

My Love was my 100th post! Isn't that sort of fun?

I just wanted to post something using my brand new laptop that he got me today. My little old mac was so bad, I had to be in one small square inch of our living room floor to get internet at all, and even then it was really slow and would sometimes drop for no reason.

So, I can now blog from any room in the house, or sit on the couch at any angle, facing any direction and still be online! I am really excited. So happy and un-frustrated. I did not know how much it bothered me to have a terrible computer until I got a lovely, wonderful one.

23 January 2010

my Love

My husband is so tall and handsome and wonderful.

I loved marrying him.

He is very manly and I love how he always mostly wears boots.

See the boots?

He puts up with me patiently, even in the car.

He LOVES his doggie. :) It makes me really happy to see them together.

I have always thought that he has a quite perfect nose,

and his smile makes me really, really happy.

Every single time I see it.

He is always so kind to me, and extraordinarily patient. He is even willing to do impractical things that I love, like camping,

or going to tea places and things like that.

He loves me so much, and being his wife makes me happier than I ever thought someone could be.