Monday, December 28, 2009

15 Things

It's been fifteen days since I last updated, and I'm too tired to have much to say, but here are the events of the last two weeks.

1. Finals suck.
2. Finishing finals isn't so bad though, particularly when the last one is on blackboard and way easier than you expected.
3. Planned packing is for wimps. Just dump whatever is lying around in your room into a suitcase and go... if it's out an available you probably use it, so why not bring it.
4. Flying it Christmas is a party, airlines are incompetent, everyone is cranky, and if you're lucky you'll fall and remove that precious layer of skin on your knee caps.
5. Kimbob (the Korean version of sushi) is amazing.
6. Chinese meat cleaning procedures are not.
7. China isn't nearly as dirty as you would expect, I'm constantly amazed with the streets and how clean they are, Europe was never this clean.
8. The metro in China is also way cleaner, faster, punctual, cleaner, and I never had a hairy smelly man stick his arm pit in my face. Win.
9. There are some really really cool things to see in China, they're cool in miniature, but I really want to see them in full size too.
10. I don't really like Hong Kong. I had high hopes for the city, I've read about it in books, but it just didn't measure up... it was dirty like a European city, with none of the perks. Shenzen was much better.
11. Number 9 again, but this time for the world... we visited two miniature attractions, the first one showing the highlights of China, and the second showing highlights of the world... when I grow up I want to be a professional traveler.
12. I'm not exactly sure where Christmas break went... all I know is it was all too fast.
13. Going to the orphanage tomorrow, should be good. Those kids need all the lovin' then can get.
14. Also going to pick up my dress and more pearls. Yay.
15. I'm tired. the end.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Semester in Quotes

This actually proved to be a rather amusing semester... so I have quite a few good ones for you, mostly from Christian History. Enjoy.

These are five measure phrases. Avoid the Natural Man!
~ Dr. Don

There's a lesson for all of you, when choosing friends look at their net worth.
~Sister Black

He saw Jesus and was like, "No big deal, I've read about ya'"
~Bro. Gaskill

Now me, I'm all about priestcraft, go buy my books!
~Bro. Gaskill

Ladies, imagine some guy comes and tells you God said you were to marry him. You'd tell him to go to the University of Utah.
~Bro. Gaskill

Well, If you're going to restart polygamy, Ken and Barbie should do it.
~Bro. Gaskil

I don't know, when I was dating I always used the Songs of Solomon as my ideal for women to go out with.
~Bro. Gaskill

Maybe it's Satan making me say that, but I like him.
~Bro. Gaskill

It's like negotiating with the North Koreans, it never works.
~Dr. Thorpe

She's a lot like Martha Stewart, and we all know what we think of Martha Stewart, we just can't say it in class.
~Dr. Fredricson

STELLA
~The tradition must continue

It's like in Sense and Sensibility...
~Dr.Clayton

Edna Mode.
~Danielle

Dangit, I always thought I had good gay-dar.
~Kris Tina

Because I love you.
~Megan

Baby, it's cold outside.

Really, men are just like dogs. All we want is to be petted in morally chaste and appropriate ways.
~Sean

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Confession

Today I entered the BYU football stadium for the first time in my college career.

I only have three semesters left here.

I entered the stadium only to get to the band hall to watch a recital.

Go ponder that one for a while...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wow... just Wow...

Here's a conversation I heard while walking on campus today:

Guy 1: You know I don't think Twilight can be all that bad...
Guy 2: *derisive snort* how so?
G1: Well, one of my friends told me that one of her friends was reading twilight and was impressed with the morals and the good ideals it taught and realized Stephanie Meyer was mormon, so she looked into the church, took the discussions and got baptized.
G2: Wow.

All I want to know is what version of Twilight this girl read...

Twilight... morals... *barf*

Thursday, November 26, 2009

He always opens a window

That's the last half of one of my favorite quotes from The Sound of Music. This thanksgiving it is the very thing I am most thankful for. This semester has been a rough one. Classes were hard, dating was... thrilling... and nothing seemed to be working. I spent a looooooooooooong time on my knees for most of September and October fighting through ideas about double majors, careers in music, and just general questions about what to do after I graduate. The more I prayed the more frustrated I got, because with every idea I came up with nothing seemed to fit, and every time I thought I had constructed my fool proof answer, I discovered I still had nothing to go on. With each idea that didn't work out I became more upset and more miserable. It was like I was doing everything I could think of, but I was still falling short.
Finally on fast Sunday at the beginning of this month I decided I would just listen, and just wait for answers. I listened all through church, I listened as I drove a good friend to the airport, I listened as I visited a friend in Salt Lake, and finally as I was about to leave Salt Lake I felt like I needed to go to Temple Square. I drove over, and decided just to walk around. As I was walking I ran into some sister missionaries and talked to them. While we were talking one of the sisters looked at me and said "you should go on a mission" I gave her my usual excuses that I didn't feel it was for me, and didn't really want to go. Suddenly as we were talking it hit me, and I wanted to go more than anything I've ever wanted in my life.
So, I'm planning on putting in mission papers at the end of next semester. I couldn't be more excited. I'm terrified at the idea of leaving for a year and a half, I'm nervous about a lot of things but I know this is the right choice.
This year for thanksgiving I am incredibly thankful for prayer, and I'm also thankful for all the "no's" I got. Without all of those no's I'm not sure I would have recognized the need to serve. Things in the weeks since deciding to serve have fallen into place. This semester is still probably my hardest yet, but it's all okay now. Some questions are still unresolved, but I feel more settled and at peace than I've felt in months.
May you and all those around you have a marvelous Thanksgiving. Remember to take time to think about what you are most grateful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tallying up a day

For those of you who wonder why you never see me, here's a list of a few things I did today:

Wrote 2 papers.
Went to 4 classes.
Cried twice (today wasn't exactly the best day).
Attended 2 rehearsals for a total of 3 hours.
Practiced 5 hours.
Ran errands for 2 hours.
Went to FHE for 1 hour.
Avoided life with Amber for 1 hour.
Ranted against an evil TA and teacher twice.
Had an awesome roommate tell me life goes on twice.
Fought with my internet for one hour at 4:30 am.
Wished I had more time to go running 4 times.
Read my scriptures, text books, and a news article on something I don't even remember now.
Walked to campus twice.
Drove to Campus once.
Scheduled more rehearsals.
Slept, not enough.

Are you exhausted? Cause I sure am.

Friday, November 13, 2009

For all you book worms...

One of my teachers referenced this sight in class. I finally looked it up, and thought you all might get a kick out of my favorites. So, here are some classics that have been summarized to within an inch of their lives.

My first favorite goes to Shakespeare, because he's awesome:

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo
Oh, Juliet!
Juliet
Oh, Romeo!
Romeo
Oh, Juliet!
Juliet
Oh, Romeo!
Romeo
Oh, Juliet! (dies)
Juliet
Oh, Romeo!......Romeo?......Dangit.

THE END

And now for one of my favorite books from high school:
The Crucible
By Arthur Miller

Reverend Parris
Abigail Williams, you and your friends are in trouble, unless you can shift the blame to someone else.
Abigail Williams
She did it! He did it! They did it! Everybody but us did it!
Judge Danforth
Ah, now we are getting somewhere.
(Everybody gets hanged, which just goes to show how evil McCarthyism is.)

THE END

But my very favorite goes to Dante:

Inferno

Some woman puts Dante through Hell.

THE END

*snicker* Have an awesome weekend.
Oh and for anyone who wants to read more of these (I promise they won't disappoint)http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/classics.shtml.

And finally, a note to those who park near me, if you can't fit your car into one space I may begin resorting to other parking tactics:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

But I figured...

That's my new favorite phrase. Probably because it seems to be an excuse for doing exactly what you want regardless of other advice/instruction.
For instance:
"I know the sign says your office is closed right now but I figured since the door was unlocked..."
"I know I had to do those questions for our study group, but I figured that my partner had it all covered..."
"I had to cancel, but I figured that you could make time later..."
"I know my LSAT and grades aren't high enough, but I figured..."

On a less snarky note, I'm taking my last test before Thanksgiving this afternoon. Let the celebrating begin! From here till Thanksgiving, it's just me, the practice rooms and my flute. Sooooo excited!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not Stressed... Not Stressed...

If you say it enough it's true right. All I want is to not have this happen when I get to the testing center:



On a non related note, day light savings really sucks this year. It's never bothered me before, but tonight when I left the HFAC at 6 and it was dark I was less than amused. Have no fear, I've worked out a solution to my problem. I'm just going to make sure to stay in the HFAC until nine every night and then when I leave and it's dark, I won't be irritated, because it's supposed to be dark at 9pm. Bring it on day light savings.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clearly I'm Missing Out

True story, this really happened:

Setting: After masterclass, seated at a table in the library working on a paper for Pedagogy.

Random Kid: Hey, I'm taking a survery, it'll only take two minutes, do you mind?
Me: No, go for it.
RK:This is a survey about dating and the library. First, are you in a relationship or single?
Me: Single *dating, the library... right... That's my first choice for a hott date*
RK: Where in the library would you go to meet guys?
Me: Ummm, the third floor? I usually just come here to study. *there are really people who come here to pick up dates? Who does that?! Last time I brought a boy here is was to make sure he kept his hands to himself...*
RK: How would you show a guy you wanted him to ask you out if you were at the library?
Me: Ummm... I don't know, make eye contact? *Honestly, the library is for studying, that's why I come here, is that really such a novel concept?*
RK: Thanks for your time!

Needless to say I've been left with a lot to ponder. Clearly I'm not getting everything I should out of my BYU Library experience.



"What can I do, my dear, to catch your ear
I love you madly, madly Madam Librarian...Marian"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Migraines,

We've been together a long time. You've kept me company for close to four years, paying little heed to when you were welcome, and when I needed you to leave me alone. I've pampered you, babied you, and generally let you make the decisions. When you come to visit I drop everything. However, for once, just this week, please let me be. I just don't have time for you in my life right now. With Law Fair, Homecoming Spectacular, and MTNA, I'm busier than I ever wanted to be, and you seem to like to stop by when things get a little chaotic. You've been threatening to visit since about seven thirty last night and I understand, you miss me, but please, let me be.
Love always,
Nicole

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Inherited from Dad

I've inherited a lot from my Dad, my love for reading, at least half of my height, a love of music, the desire and patience to read every single sign in a museum, and a love for trees.
It's fall here in Utah, but it's just not cutting it for me. Fall is the season where I miss Michigan. I've never seen so many gorgeous colors and the weather is so pretty. At least before the seven month long winter sets in... I've tried explaining to people just what a Utah fall is lacking, but no one gets it. Fall has a certain smell, the air has an edge that hints at the winter to come as it pulls the smell of leaves across your nose before you wrap the scarf around tighter. The trees look like fire dancing between the grass and the sky as every color of red, orange and yellow is present. The trees are everywhere and they are beautiful. There are just no trees here in Utah. I think I need to retreat up into the mountains again to go walk through at least a decent amount of trees. So, for those of you lucky enough to be enjoying a real fall with plentiful trees, leaves and all the beauty that goes with it, go out and take a big deep breath of fall air for me. Cause I really miss that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Picture Essay

Today, through pictures... because I don't want to write:



Upon awakening...



Getting ready for the Law Fair at work...



Band Rehearsal... we did breathing exercises... I felt some spit hit my arm... Some brass player was standing behind me doing what brass players do best... blowing and spitting. gross.



Practice rooms. Need I say more?



And now all I really want is:



So I'm outta here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just to Prove I'm Still Alive...

I've sort of dropped off the face of the blogging world. Don't take offense, I've dropped off the face of the real world too. The only people I see are Amber, Danielle, Megan, and those who I work with or have classes with.
Currently I'm trying a new sleep experiment. The basic idea being I'm going to bed about two hours earlier and getting up two hours earlier... it's interesting... we'll see how long it lasts.
Other moments of interest:
~You know you've been a music major for too long when there is a hierarchy in your mind about who you prefer to kick out of your practice room. The vocalist and brass player today... really can't say I felt bad at all... now the cellist yesterday, I felt awful.
~Sometimes I have to wonder if all the people who walk through my door are really cut out for law school. Aren't lawyers supposed to have great powers of deductive reasoning? And yet some of these people are dumber than door nails, no joke! During the devotional Tuesday I was chilling the back, the lights out front were off, there was a big sign saying, "We are closed, go be righteous and go to the devotional" (maybe not exactly that... but you get the jist) and yet a student still walked in a wanted advice on getting into law school. Clearly this kid will do well in the reading comprehension section of the LSAT.
~Trying to keep up with classes and apply for a grant is a pain in the butt. The end. Why don't they do the applications in the summer when there is time to devote your life to researching something unrelated to all of your classes. Oh snap, maybe that's where I went wrong... where are all the classes on playing Asian instruments and why am I not in them?
~I went running for the first time since the race. Pathetic, but hey, that's life. Buuuut, it was absolutely amazing. I think I'm hooked... I love how good I feel for the entire day after I run, it's the ultimate high.
~Finally, after a series of unfortunate events I now have a new history teacher. There has been much sadness on the part of all the students in the class. This sadness has only been compounded by the fact that our long term sub looks like Dolores Umbridge and has the personality to match.

Friday, October 2, 2009

See You Next Fall!

For those of you who attended last night's concert, I hope you enjoyed it. I can't complain much... the little wooden beast I play on was relatively in tune and I didn't fall on my face, at least when I was getting on stage. However, do any of you recall the resounding thwack that echoed through the concert hall as the opening prayer was being said? A certain very tall piccolo player that I know just might have been walking in late, and just might have thought that there were only two steps not three to get to her seat and she just might have fallen flat on her face while trying to stealthily sneak in. That just might have been what happened. Just maybe.



With the arrival of fall, no longer being used as a verb by yours truly, I have fallen in love with the boots my mom got me this summer. They keep my toes warm and happy, now I just need to buy tights to go with them so I don't freeze going to work in a skirt this winter.

And last but not least, the grandparents are in town and taking the cousins to lunch! Yay food! So, I'll catch ya'll later.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wuv, Twuu Wuv

So I figured you're all waiting with bated breath to hear about my epic love life. Sadly here is all you're going to get through cyberspace... this past week was a little more action packed than I had ever hoped for... But with all threats deftly averted *clears throat*... I'm back to my very happily single status... and somewhere the nearish vicinity there is a man kicking himself because he is missing out on a woman tall enough for him.

However, never fear, today I found a true and lasting love. Built on trust and mutual understanding. It was love at first sight. Meet Juan:



That's right. I now own an air popper for popcorn. Those who know me well know that I LOVE popcorn. Microwave is good, but home popped with an air popper, a little butter and some salt is HEAVEN. So, after a few hours in the library tonight, I made some popcorn and read about the conquest of Wales while listening to Bruckner. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.

Other awesome things in my life:
~ I bought the first part of my Esma costume. Soooooo excited for Haloween.
~ Said shopping trip took place with Amber and Danielle, thereby making it even more awesome.
~ I'm planning on rocking three midterms this week.
~ Stella *hopefully* comes back on Monday. Woo Hoo! We've all missed having her around... although it's been thrilling to make jokes about her being the light unto the studio, and her new superhero abilities.
~ Work is awesome, although I crushed a students dream's on Friday, which was not awesome, especially because said dream crushing happened twice in about ten minutes when he didn't believe me and so my boss had to tell him the exact same thing... but the rest of the time it is amazing. Such a good job.
~ M-Ro made pumpkin pie this week, it was excellent, and now we are planning a whip cream war. Pumpkin pie is just so inspiring...
~ Still kicking myself repeatedly for missing the season premiere of House, hopefully I'll fix that soon. Maybe it will be my reward for surviving the upcoming week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Phones, can't live with 'em

And apparently you can't live with out them either (as much as I try). Within the last month I've received plenty of complaints that I'm not answering or impossible to get a hold of. Oops. I just never think about the darned thing, and it has an odd habit of only ringing when out of earshot. Murphy's Laws meets my cell phone. Murphy is winning. Those who know me well may be miffed, but at least they are used to the fact that I'm a airhead when it comes to remembering my phone. It's all the people who randomly try to get a hold of me that I feel bad for. Someday I will reform. Perhaps after I no longer spend over four hours a day in places where I get ZERO cell phone service.
Speaking of ZERO service, what's with everyone in the practice rooms. People, we're not a freaking conservatory. GO HOME! This is the second day in a row that I have not been able to find a room at 9pm. What the heck?! I've never had trouble getting rooms at night. The E wing was full, so I checked the C wing, FULL, and even the theory rooms were full. grrrrrrrrrrr. Angst Angst Angst. (picture me banding my head against the practice room hall way and you've got the right idea.) Denying a musician a practice room is like putting a little kid in a candy store, opening every bag, sprinkling all the candy right in front of him, and then telling him to watch you devour all the candy by yourself.
On a happier note, my boss brought back pizza from a meeting, so who got to eat it... that's right, all the pre-professional minions. Brilliant! I love free food and I love pizza, so basically it was a festival of love and joy. Truly. I love my job.
Also, Blackboard is down. Shocker. Which really means I can't do ANY of the reading for my history class. I'm enjoying the break now, but there will be H-E-double-hockey-sticks to pay when it gets going again. Although, we are only studying Saxon England, so there isn't really that much of interest... if we were 500 years later I might be a little more disgruntled.
Finally, there is a Chinese music concert in the Madsen tomorrow night. You really really really want to be there. I heard them play today and they were incredible. It's a husband wife duo, and the music they play is sooooooooo good. Incredible amounts of talent combined with an already amazing musical genre translates into a night of AWESOME. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeee there. You won't regret it.
The end.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What a Week(end)

First, timing is EVERYTHING! Thanks for the best laugh of my life Chase and Tae.
Second, I can't move, at least not like a normal person.
Third, I can't move because I ran a half marathon on Saturday morning. THIRTEEN POINT ONE MILES. That's right. And I did it in two hours and twenty five minutes. Cutting off fifteen minutes from my previous PR. Someday I'll knock my time down to the two hour mark, but I'm in no hurry. I'm pretty proud of myself since two years ago at this time I was swearing up and down that nothing short of being trapped on the Serengeti at lunch time would get me to run. Now two years later I've completed one 5K, two 10K's, and three half marathons. Someday I plan on running a whole marathon.
It was a great race. Grandpa ran the whole marathon, because he's incredibly hard core like that, Trent, Melanie, Megan and I ran the half. Trent and Melanie both placed which was awesome, and I was way excited for them. They make up the hard core running section of the family. At least the fast part... we won't get into training techniques, because there was a lot of not good training that happened in preparation for this sucker. The race itself was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could have taken pictures or something as I ran, because it was amazing to look at. It definitely helps to have beautiful scenery for a long race. You need something to look at to distract yourself.
Speaking of distracting yourself. I found the most perfect and slightly nerdy way to pace myself and help with the distraction factor. I spent the majority of the race going through every flute piece I thought I could play from memory. It was an interesting game to play, and kept my mind occupied while my body was screaming to stop. Do you think Dr. Clayton would let me count it as practice hours? Just kidding. But it did help, sooooooo much.
A few fun memories from the race that I don't want to forget:
~ We met a guy on the bus who looked just like Benedict from the movie of the Shakespeare play Much Ado about Nothing. He was fun to talk to. It's always interesting to meet people at these things.
~ They announced at the start of the race that if we heard shooting not to be worried, it was the first day of Antelope hunting season. That's right, Antelope hunting. Only in Southern Utah.
~ There was a guy at the race who had run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, and another guy there who had run over 500 marathons. CRAZY!!! I hope to run for all of my life, but I'm not sure I'll ever be that intense.
Yay running. And yay being sore. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to move finally.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Peanut Butter

Today I opened a new jar of peanut butter. In my poor collegiate life it's actually one of my favorite things to do. Particularly if it's creamy peanut butter. Sometimes there's a cool swirl, other times it's perfectly smooth with maybe a bubble or two. They must put the stuff in while it's really really hot, otherwise it would never look that cool. If I was giving a talk I'm sure I could find some deeper meaning in this... but I'm not. So just know I like peanut butter.

Other things of slightly more interest to those of you who stuck around:
~ Danielle and I played in masterclass and we rocked. Basically, you all wish you were there. (but if you weren't we're trying to get it on one of the new music concerts,and if we do, you should all come... because this piece is EPIC.)
~ Dr. Clayton pronounced Amber and I as the new Meleece. Pretty well stoked. I'm taking it as a good thing... right?
~ Found out my apartment complex hates me... no parking sticker for me. LAME!
~ Got asked out... had to tell the poor guy I was running a half marathon that morning... At least it's a legit excuse right? I wouldn't have been back in time, and he wanted to go hiking... no good after a half marathon.
~ The book sale on campus is KILLING me. All I want to do is give all those beautiful books a home. I'm making myself wait until Friday when the last remnants are marked down to 90% off. I figure my taste in books is unique enough that maybe something I want will be left, right? I've got my eye on a really cool looking book about the history of the inquisition... I stuck it under a stack of books hoping no one will notice it. I'm soooo sneaky.
~ Speaking of books, I'm reading a book about Magellan right now, and it's incredible. I can barely put the thing down.
~ Studied the Celts in history today and my history teacher made fun of all the neodruids who go celebrate (get high) at Stonehenge, which was neither Celtic nor around for the time of the druids. Do your history before you go run a muck in a historical monument. (Of course, I'm left wondering why the British government puts up with it when they could do a little research and get Stonehenge back it's dignity.)
~ Finally, but probably not the most exciting, the half marathon, in case you hadn't already gathered, is on Saturday. Yeah... death...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today



That's exactly how I felt at work today. No joke. Here's why:

1) Spent fifteen minutes on the phone with computer support, found out I'm inept.
2) Meant to put a caller on hold... actually left them sitting for five minutes, not on hold, listening to me freak out while trying to figure out what number to transfer them to.
3) To gain empathy for the students I am working I took a practice LSAT. Most people usually come in having studied some, maybe taken a class and then they take a practice test. Nope, I went for it right off... ouch. I'm not even half way and I have a deep understanding for every horror story I've ever heard about that test.

Other things on my mind:
1) The ever interesting prospect of a double major...
2) Teach for America
3) The kid who sat in front of me and explained that he was going to two wards each Sunday to maximize the number of women he was meeting... can you say psycho wife hunter? I had to get up and move a few rows further away because he gave me the heebie-jeebies.
4) The ultimate Esma costume, I'm on the hunt... pictures will be posted when I am finished.
5) Dinner. I'm hungry... and it's only four thirty. ugh.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day one

Auditions make me want to curl in the fetal position, watch House, and eat ice cream.
The end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wu Liu

This is mostly for anyone who reads this that also reads my mom's blog, since she can't update, I thought I'd stick this on for her.



This is Wu Liu, she is one of the children at the orphanage my mom volunteers at. (Each of the women who go tend to have a "favorite" child that they bond with particularly, for my mom it is this baby. In May when I went I met Wu Liu and it was obvious she was thrilled to see my mom. It was so fun to watch them.) In April, Mom wrote and said that odds are that because of the tumor on her face she would live out her life in an orphanage for ever. However, she has just had the first of multiple surgeries to help her get the tumor removed and is currently living with a family near where my family lives. Hopefully after the surgeries are done she will be able to be adopted, she's such a cutie.

Here's an update from my mom. She clarifies some of the details:
Hey Cole,
Thanks for blogging about Wu Liu. I saw her today. She is so skinny!!! I was shocked at how thin she looked. She was scared to death. All these white faces and no Asian faces. Poor girl. They actually did heart surgery on her because when they went to remove the tumor they learned that she had heart problems. She should be ready for the tumor to be removed in about 3 or 4 months. The family she is with are calling her Kate. That one will have to grow on me. She is just Wu Liu to me. :)
Well thanks again.
Love ya, Mom

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Amusement

Eat, Run, Practice, Eat, Work, Practice, Eat, Practice, Sleep.

This is all I do... in about that order. But in between I have managed to squeeze in personal entertainment.

~ I bought my books today. Amusing, no. Painful, yes. So why am I listing it? Because one of my books was an entire book on the Black Death. Soooooooooo excited. I'm already reading it. yay.

~ I got my hands on a piccolo today thanks to the awesomeness of Amber. Said piccolo had a note in it that said it's name was Pip. Not sure what I think of that name... it's rather cheesy... but also cute. Judgement will be passed soon, and Pip may get a more manly middle name.

~ Went running, didn't die. Major victory. Also, no cat calls, also a major victory.

~ Back with the naming of instruments. Since moving into my new apartment I've only reffered to my flute by his name... it's starting to get entertaining. I think I've been pegged as the roommate who is headed to the altar with some Johnathan fellow. *chortle* We will see how long this charade lasts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Because I'm turning twenty tomorrow, and am somewhat narcissistic, here is a list of twenty things most of you may not know about me.

1. Putting in contacts makes me sneeze. Not every time, but pretty regularly.
2. I have never been able to do a hand stand, not even under water, which is just pathetic.
3. I am terrified of snakes. It's a borderline phobia, I don't go in reptile houses or anything.
4. I hate cooking chicken. The smell grosses me out, so I never make anything with chicken in it.
5. I was born one month premature, it stunted my growth.
6. I wanted to play the clarinet not the flute. Now I wake up every morning and am incredibly thankful my mom prodded me towards the flute. (No offense clarinet players)
7. I don't actually have anything against my cell phone, I just never remember to bring it with me. There is an odd rumor going around that I am violently opposed to cell phones, when in reality I'm just opposed to cell phones when in the hands of idiots.
8. In kindergarten my favorite animal was the vulture. No joke. I liked them because they kept our roads clean (we lived out in the boonies of Kentucky and there were always nasty dead animals on our road.)
9. As a little kid I loved dinosaurs. I had a dinosaur sleeping bag and everything. My brother had an elephant one. Backwards, huh?
10. I did not go on a single date while I was nineteen. Perhaps twenty will go a little better.
11. I'm mildly allergic to chocolate, but I eat it every two to three weeks hoping that one of these times I won't have a reaction. No luck so far.
12. I don't cry in movies, except for Disney, those ones are just so touching. Truly.
13. One ear turns bright bright red when I am really tired. Just one ear.
14. I got an infection from my wisdom teeth being removed... three months later.
15. When I get the hiccups they are really really reallllllllllllly loud. And physically they hurt a lot.
16. I've never repeated the first letter of a name with anyone I've been on a date with.
17. I have never broken a bone, had a cavity, or had chicken pox.
18. I received four marriage proposals in one day. Boo YA!
19. The longest date I ever went on was ten hours.
20. Senior year of high school I recited all one hundred scripture masteries, in order, from memory. Cause I'm hard core like that.

Yay. Happy Birthday to me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road Tripping

In the last few weeks since my return from Paris I've spent a looooot of time on the road. I drove back from Idaho to Provo, then a week later from Provo to Boise then to Soda Springs, then to Idaho Falls and now I'm back in Provo.
I really don't mind driving, I like the time to think and enjoy music and scenery, but some parts of Idaho and northern Utah are just ugly and the radio cuts out and all that is left is honkey-tonk country, which is the most horrid version of an already troubled genre.
In my drive to Boise there was a two hour section like this, absolutely nothing... no radio and dead waste land all around me. Every mile looked exactly the same, on and on... and on... and on... When suddenly I looked up and saw this:



and heard: It's Mater like Termater with out the ter.

Followed by this fellow sitting on the road shouting:



What did I tell you about fraternizing with the prisoners?

And then some guy named Filmore drove by offering his "all natural" gasoline, and I started to wonder what was in my drink...



What can I say, I'd been alone in a car for far to long, and my love for Pixar and Disney has yet to be matched.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Goodbye My Friend

Confession, I get really really really attached to inanimate objects.

Exhibit A, my flute. My flute has a name, and I have a tendency to call him by name on regular occasion. Which leads to awkward moments when someone then says, "I didn't know you had a boyfriend" and I have to explain that I was referring to my flute... and then they get this dubious look on their face... that same look you'd probably see if you look in the mirror right... NOW... see that look of concerned speculation. Yeah. I get very very anxious when I don't know exactly where my flute is, and I don't like other people who don't play flute coming too close to him.

Exhibit B, my childhood friend, Suzie, the trusty doll that followed me EVERYWHERE. Not joking, she had a nightgown with a drawstring at the bottom and I used to pull the drawstring tight and drag her behind me everywhere we went. (This lead to much speculation about my future parenting abilities, have no fear, I now realize dragging a kid by the feet isn't such a brilliant idea, usually.) As far as I was concerned Suzie was real, leading to an outburst in the airport when I refused to put her through the x-ray scanner because it might hurt her. Traumatizing. Not just for me either, apparently, because next summer Suzie was conveniently "forgotten". I've long suspected foul play or sabotage, but the guilty conscience has yet to get to my parents. I do remember telling Mom to call the neighbors and tell them to feed Suzie. One month later we returned home and she was okay, after I nursed her back to health for a few days.

As I've gotten older some of the objects I've attached myself to have become more and more trivial (minus my flute). College hasn't helped. I have taken the duct tape oath, and believe firmly that anything can be fixed by duct tape. My alarm clock "fell" off the shelf one morning and broke in half, but the clock still showed the correct time, so what did I do? Tape it back together of course. So now almost two years later it works fine, it is just covered in duct tape. This minor obsession isn't my fault though, sometime go visit my mom and watch her cut cheese... the knife is not the knife it used to be... but it still works, and really really well at that. (Mom, if you ever want a new knife, my offer still holds, I'd be happy to take the old one off your hands.)

Upon my return from France I realized that one of my favorite inanimate objects was gone. It's a cup. Yes, a cup. My favorite cup. It always held the perfect amount of water or juice or milk or whatever I wanted. This cup had been mine since I was nine or ten years old. It was an Easter gift from the Easter Bunny. I used it faithfully until college. When I returned home for Christmas Dad told me to take the cup back with me because no one else would use it because it was mine. (Sadly this mindset only held for my cup, since my room, my bed, and anything else I loved was taken by the younger generation *sob*) So, away to college my cup came. It was so convenient, roommates very quickly realized that cup was mine and I never had to worry about grabbing the wrong one (who can mistake a bright pink Minnie Mouse cup?) About two weeks before I left I noticed something was amiss, and realized that after over ten years of faithful use the cup had started to leak. But, I couldn't throw it away, perhaps duct tape would fix it. Yes, duct tape would do the trick. Apparently though, in my absence it was thrown away, which is probably a good thing, because I never could have... and would have subjected the poor cup to tons of duct tape... and then my water would have tasted like duct tape... and I would have thrown the cup away on a bad note, and after taste... so who ever pitched it did me a favor.

Farewell old friend. I'll miss you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tender

Today marked the end of my month of EAMA. Finishing summer music programs has always been bitter sweet for me, but this time seems particularly so, maybe because it was a much longer program. Perhaps it was because I'm older and didn't spend my evenings playing the skittles game like I did back in the day. But I think it is because we had so many chances to make good friends. Being a musician I often feel like I can't connect to other people. The further I get into music, the less connected I feel with non musicians. Not saying I don't have non musician friends, but there is a special bond that comes only through music. Coming to a program like this allowed me to be surrounded by people who are just like me and who each love music the way that I do. I love how intense these programs are, it's like drinking from a fire hose, but I love every moment and look forward to the programs I'll attend in future.
In my time here in France I've made friends with students I would have never come into contact with anywhere else. I've met amazing performers and composers. The amount of talent I've seen this month is incredible, particularly from so many of the composers. Some day when they are all world famous I'll be able to say I saw them fall asleep in a counterpoint lecture. Bahaha.
Parts of the program have been hard and exhausting but I've loved it. Every moment, even when I was having my soul sapped by third species. Fourth species would have really killed me, good thing I chickened out on that one... although, nerdy as it sounds, I plan on messing with more counterpoint on the airplane. I don't quite understand it, but the ideas that were presented fascinated me, and I'd love to figure it out more. It brings a whole new meaning to music and helps it all make so much more sense.
Tomorrow I get to go visit the last few sites I can cram in, who knows what they will be. I'm mostly excited to spend another day with a few other students and enjoy Paris. I don't plan on ever making it back to France, there are too many other places in the world to see and too many cultures to experience, but in my month here I've come to appreciate this country. Although I can't say I would ever want to live here, being here for a month has been great.
This month has been incredible. It has gone so fast. It feels like yesterday that I was worrying about my keyboard harmony entrance exam and wondering what in the world first species counterpoint is. Now I have performed in two concerts, finished three voice third species counterpoint assignments, and survived my keyboard class. I consider that quite the victory. I've visited museums and historical monuments, ranted about cool kings and queens, and been awestruck by beautiful houses of worship. I've sung hymns in french for three Sundays, run into missionaries in metro stations, and watched as seeds of the gospel have been planted in many hearts. I've vaulted metro exits (sometimes cards don't work), eaten copious amounts of gelato, and made Stella incredibly dubious on occasion. I've seen the truly beautiful sections of one of the oldest cities in Europe and visited sections I wish I'd never seen. If I were to try and tell half of all that I've done in this month or introduce a few of the wonderful people I've met I'd run out of room. So, I'll just tell you it's been amazing and so much fun. And as I leave I'll have a quote from one of my favorite movies running through my head "We'll always have Paris." Au revior.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Awkward

There is a cartoon that I see on occasion in which a father is counseling his son telling him that someday the woman he loves will leave him for a man and that man will be a musician.

Clearly the maker of this shirt was never hit on by a real musician and never looked at a musicians salary.

Just Sayin'

It's all about perspective...

Most of my life, I've considered myself a morning person. I've come to this conclusion mostly by association. In high school I always had morning Seminary, so, by the time 8am advanced algebra came around I was pretty perky while my friends were still trying to down enough coffee to construct complete sentences. Looking at them with dark circles under their eyes, sniffing coffee like the smell could pull them from their stupor, I knew I must be a morning person.
In my first semester of college my opinion was only strengthened. Most of the time I was the very first person who left my apartment and on my way out the door I saw nary a soul before my first classes. Again, I assumed that because I was out the door at 7:45 and able to walk and eat while frantically reading my english assignment, I knew must be a morning person.
Second semester I moved in with Denise, who would get up around the same time as me and suddenly I realized I may not be quite the chipper morning person I thought I was. I began to realize that I function in the morning, but I really have nothing to say to anyone before about 10am. We worked though though, because Denise wasn't much of a morning person either and we lovingly glared at each other as I slammed doors and she hissed at me while straightened her hair. Eventually after living together long enough we could do accurate morning impressions of each other much to the amusement of our other roommates.
Sophomore year I effectively lived alone so dealing with people in the morning was out. This summer, being unemployed, I stayed up far too late and considered it a major victory if I was out of bed at one in the afternoon. So, that makes this summer up until July moot as far as morning person-ness goes.
Enter Amber Packard my summer roomie in Paris. Amber is perky, very very perky and a decided morning person. I knew this going in and in the first week I didn't think there was much of a problem. Amber got out of bed about forty five minutes before me, got ready and, about half an hour before needing to leave I jumped in the shower and we eventually left. No morning conversation, no singing, no noise. Little did I know, Amber was merely suffering from severe jet lag. About a week and a half into the trip my alarm went off and Amber bounded from bed singing as birds careened through the room and flowers sprung from her every step. In thirty seconds I realized that I was no morning person, not even close. In the morning I wake up and stumble towards the shower after having beat my alarm clock into submission. I don't actually remember much about my mornings until I am rinsing the shampoo out of my hair. Amber sings Disney, dances and giggles reminding me somewhat of a little chipmunk scampering around the room thoroughly excited to see the world.
So, I am now decidedly a night person. Forever more, I relinquish my right to tell people I am a morning person. I function in the morning nothing more and sometimes less. Amber thrives on some mysterious energy that seems to envelope her in the mornings. If someone could figure out how to bottle that stuff and sell it Starbucks would be out of business in three days flat.
Revenge is sweet though, I get my energy burst at night right before she is ready to go to bed. The disgust I feel in the morning is returned in kind at night as I march through our dorm singing General Hathai's March.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quotes and other ramblings

Today marks the beginning of my last week in Paris. How the time has flown. There are things I wont miss, like looooooooooong metro rides and getting lung cancer from all the second hand smoke, but there are other parts of this I will miss. I loooove the bread here, it's about all I've eaten... in varying forms that is. Gelato is AMAZING!!! The architecture and streets here are pretty, and I get such a kick out of visiting historical monuments.
In the next week I have to visit a few more famous places and do my last trip to the Louvre to soak in a little more museum goodness. I want to go eat a really good crepe, and more Gelato, and I've heard there is a falaffel place here that is to die for. I want to go sit on the banks of the Seine and watch the city go by. I want to find a painting and buy it, preferably for not too much money. I want to go visit more gardens and enjoy the what little living scenery there is here. We'll see if I get it all in. It's gonna get crowded.

I thought instead of observations for you I'd start posting some of my favorite quotes from this month. Remember, we're a lot of really really nerdy musicians... so these jokes get rather... nerdy musicianish. Don't feel bad if you are lost.

~"I'm just so, so insanely popular" Dr. Clayton
~"In the test we didn't mark off for sharps, 'cause they're natural" Teddy
~"I don't use movable 'do' I use movable 'la' see: la la la la la la la la (sings scale)" Big Lee
~ "Okay pancakes, 1, 2, 3, CHEESE" Amber talking to her food
~"I've dated three Ben's, Ben the First, Ben the Second, and Ben the Conquer" Danielle
~"Direct fifths are like jay walking... but if you don't get caught, what's the harm?" Teddy
~"Call me Stella" Dr. Clayton
~"That's just one more reason not to friend you on Facebook" Dr. Clayton
~"Hey guys, hey guys, ACHOOOO!" Amber
~"Your purse talked to me." Amber
~"You be the Jedi Master & I'll be your Padiwan" Danielle, cheesy pick up lines gone Star Wars
~"Playing Bach is like in the Odyssey when Odysseus must go through the sea with the sirens. You flutes, you're the sirens, and piano you are both Odysseus and the sailors. You must put wax in your ears and continue forward, but you also must be Odysseus who listens and wants to be drawn in" Narcis Bonet
~"Here is the difference between staccato and speccato. Staccato is Bach. Speccato, Offenbach." Narcis Bonet
~"Sometimes you look around and realize there are some really attractive Frenchmen here" Stella
~"There are four types of chords: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the forgotten." Joseph
~"The problem is, I'm not sure we'd notice if Amber were drunk..." Danielle
~"There's a lot of crime here, that's really something" Shapiro
~"Basses, lets at least pretend we all want to sing the same pitch" Shapiro
~"TUNE, Alto's I can't hear you, Basses, all in the same octave, Tenors, find your pitch!" Shapiro
~"I'm gonna get tagged so much tonight my mom is gonna feel it" Big Lee
~"Come for Revolution, Stay for Cake" Big Lee
~"We're turning these gardens into an executive golf course" David on Versailles
~"A Nymph dressed in... oh my!" Dr. L translating a french song cycle on the spot.
~"Hey Jude" Stella
~"And that, Amber, is how you pull a prank" Myself
~"I need a drink. I wonder if I could find something STIFF" Stella
~"Was it Gobs or Horsey?"
~"This sonata is Brahms in a tavern after a few beers" R. Howait

And then there are those conversations you come in on at the wrong moment:
"I'm glad I waited to start using (illicit drugs) it was nice to see the world some before the third eye was opened and I saw things as they were" a certain composer

"All I have going for me is that I can look dumb even though I'm smart" Amber... there's a story behind this somewhere...

"Heels are my protection, they scare off the guys who are just a little to short" Nicole
"Not me, they're like jumping in honey and rolling around if you don't like bees" Amber

"What interval is that?"
"NASTY"
"That's right, it's a diminished nasty" (if you must know, it was a diminished fourth and I had to attempt to sing my way through it... utterly disgusting...)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh the Metro... Part 2

Riding the subways here in Paris have been nothing short of a trip. (I'm so punny. *chortle*) However, for your reading pleasure I'd like to give you some of the more memorable moments from my time deep underneath Paris. So, here's my guide to the METRO!

Selecting Your Train
Upon entering the Metro you will be confronted with what should be a map, but it is covered in odd shaped squiggles of colors that should look slightly different, but most likely look exactly the same. For the colors that do look the same, you must navigate to the end of the string (much like doing a coloring book maze as a little kid) and search for a little tiny number. Stops will be labeled by little circles with names by them that are also completely unreadable. Navigate through this mess and figure out which stops you need. Figuring out multiple routs is probably a good idea as odds are good that 92% of the time your train will be absurdly late or just not coming.
Find the platform for your train by following signs bearing the number of the train you wish to ride on. Remember the trains go both ways, so make sure to pick the one headed where you want to go. Also, for all intensive purposes, just because the train is on your track, doesn't mean it is ending up where you want as most single lines are actually five lines that simply converge for six stops in the middle of Paris.

Boarding Your Train
Picking cars on the train is a lot like Russian Roulet meets Murphy's Laws. If you are exhausted you will end up packed in like sardines. If you only need one stop, there will be plenty of chairs open. If you happen to be packed in like sardines, I reccomend a nose plug.
Once you have selected your stake out place in the platform simply wait for your train to arrive. Upon arrival simply lift your feet from the ground and allow the thronging crowd to carry you onto the train like a small boat in a turbulent ocean. Mind the Gap. You never know when the thronging ocean of people will stop and leave you to fall to your doom. Remember, Russian Roulet meets Murphy's Laws. Ride at your own risk.

Good Times vs Bad Times
Good times, never. Bad times, always.
Rush hour is always fun. I've never felt more like a sardine in all my life. People just keep cramming in even after the car looks full at least three or four more people will mash their bodies in some awkward contortion just to avoid waiting six more minutes. Of course, if it is the RER it's worth mashing yourself in because who knows when the next one is coming...
These awkward contortions become more... pungent... on warmer days as suddenly you find yourself next to a Parisian man who looks like he just ran a marathon and is sweating enough to fill the Great Lakes. If you find yourself next to this man, MOVE because he has no idea that he smells worse than a pack of fourteen year old boys who've just finished mud wrestling. In fact, odds are good he will probably was a little more pit ventilation, and raise his arm to grab onto a higher part of the railing. Prepare to be asphyxiated. Gas masks aren't enough. Nothing is enough.

Rules:
1. If you can still breathe, there is room for three more people next to you.
2. If you can't breathe, four more people will cram in next to you.
3. There are no personal boundaries on the metro. Just hope that man next to you... well... just know that there are no personal boundaries.
4. The amount of available seats varies indirectly with how tired you are.
5. The amount of breathe able air never varies. It will always be zero.
6. The RER hates you. Accept this and your life will be easier.
7. To be tall is better, to be short is armpit heaven.
8. Prepare to be asked out by the short man standing next to you. After refusing him, prepare to have him stare awkwardly at you.
9. If you ride with someone who is loudish, prepare to be stared at. But keep the loud person around, they do funny things on the Metro and will provide many moments of great amusement.
10. When in doubt if you'll get out, shove and yell PARDON!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Little Things

All you get tonight is observations. Such is life.

~ I find it ironic that in a art exhibit trying to fight for woman's rights and equality they showed lots of naked women. And only their bodies. Not even their faces. To me that objectifies women and I found it both offensive and counter productive.
~ Paris smells like urine, music camp smells like cigarette smoke.
~ You'd be surprised how many singers and wind players smoke... gag.
~ Getting a migraine is like being pregnant. By the time everyone can see it, you don't feel nearly as awful. Not that I've got anyway to compare... but moral of the story is once I look awful the worst of the migraine is over. But I still appreciate the sympathy.
~ I <3 migraine pills. In a non druggie way.
~ It's really easy to vault the exit barrier in the metro. Especially if you are motivated by the fact that your stupid card wouldn't work.
~ Sometimes the metro machines are just a pain.
~ Amber has a lot of energy
~ In addition to the amount of energy, she is also loud.
~ Loudness and energy are directly related to the number of people around her.
~ Puppies are sooooo cute. But some older dogs chillaxin' aren't... particularly over here...
~ Street mimes are cool.
~ Whenever we bring Big Lee with us I never worry about anyone messing with us.
~ When Big Lee isn't around... creepers sometimes show up...
~ When shopping in a foreign country sometimes the seemingly easiest things are the hardest to find. Tonight we spent half an hour looking for sugar. Silly us, we didn't look between the milk and the Coke.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Come for Revolution, Stay for Cake

Here's what I did for Bastille Day:


We got a group together and headed out to Versailles and then Chartres Cathedral. Generally, tour guide books tell you that it takes a day to do each, but, thanks to my mother's traveling training, the group got through both in one day. However, by the end they looked a little like this:



We saw soooooooooo much, it's no wonder everyone was exhausted. So, here are some highlights of the day.
We got on the train to head out to Versailles, but unbeknown to us, the train we got on started the trip to Versailles, but actually was headed to north Paris... We got to do a little back tracking. When we got to Versailles we headed to buy tickets and found out there were some performances going on and they were about to turn on all the fountains in the gardens. Go look at that first picture again. That's how all the fountains looked. AMAZING!
After eating lunch in the gardens and listening to string quartets we set off to the Trianon and the Marie Antoinette Estate. The Trianon is the "little house" behind Versailles. If I ever own a house that big, I will have made it very very far in life. Cool things I learned about the Trianon were that when Marie Antoinette showed up she practically renovated the place, going as far as to have her predecessors initials removed from the banisters and her own placed in. *cough* narcissist *cough*


The Trianon was also interested because it showed a much more private life of the King. Every thing at Versailles was on display to the public, and the king only had a little space to himself. In the king's bedroom there was only a third the room courtiers couldn't access and they all were in there watching him get dressed in the morning. At the Trianon there were no barricades, suggesting to me, that this was where the King didn't need to worry about the lack of space at court. Compared to Versailles this really is a little cottage, full of rooms for the king to enjoy life.... not that there wasn't plenty of that at Versailles, but you get the picture.
After being in the Trianon we went behind into more secluded gardens. They were lovely, and less "groomed" than the regular gardens. Again, seeming to fit the cottage idea. At the back of the gardens we were met with this:



This is the Marie Antoinette Estate. Gorgeous. I would never ever return to Paris if I could come here instead.
This estate is where Marie and the ladies of the court would dress up as shepherdesses and traipse around wondering why the commoners were so upset with their clearly idyllic lifestyle of simplicity and poverty. Yeah, they were rather sheltered/ignorant. But hey, if you thought that commoners lived in circumstances like that estate, you'd be hard pressed to pay attention to complaints of the masses.

Versailles itself was stunning. The crowning jewel of the French court at it's height, and a triage hospital at it's lowest. When Louis XIV moved to Versailles it was a "mere hunting lodge" and by the time it was stormed by the masses under the reign of Louis XVI it was a gilded court of wealth and pleasure. Under Napoleon it was turned into a museum, and during the siege of Paris in late 1800 the hall of mirrors was used as an operating room. Today it functions as a museum showing what life would have been like for the royal court. The audio guide was good, but rather lacking in that I couldn't ask it questions and only in some rooms would they get into any of the cool history. Some things, obviously, would never have been written by historians of the time, but we have plenty of clues as to what life was like for the King and I was disgruntled that the guide didn't give more. Alas. However, it did point out all the art work, for which I was extremely grateful, because otherwise I would have had absolutely no idea what I was looking at.
So, here are the highlights from Versailles. The royal chapel was beautiful:



And there was a really good statue of Louis XIV at the age 26:



My favorite room was this one:



This is the room that the kings would have met with their cabinet to take care of the affairs of the kingdom. Obviously they didn't do such a hot job, but it is a cool room none the less. From this room Louis XIV and XV would have made decisions about the wars that they entered in with neighbors and these wars actually were what lead to the revolution, because they are what helped bankrupt the country more than anything else. Ironic since the second leader after the end of the monarchy would be more war hungry than any king of France ever was...
And here is the Hall of Mirrors for all of you:



At the back of the palace they had a gallery of paintings representing all the major french victories that the French had prior to 1680 (ish, I don't have the exact date). And yes, there were French victories. Otherwise, here in France I'd be able to communicate much better than I can. It's just in the last three hundred years or so that the French have really done poorly, and really, if you look at their history, I can't blame them for not wanting to fight.
After finishing Versailles we headed to the train station and bought tickets to go to Chartres Cathedral. This cathedral is arguably one of the best examples of High Gothic architecture in all of France. It was beautiful, and actually the main architect for the SLC temple studied it before starting his sketches, so you can see a strong resemblance. Particularly in the second picture of the front.





The inside had some incredible stained glass windows, see:



And here are flying buttresses:



We stopped in a cafe for dinner and then caught a late train home, getting us back around midnight. Yeah, it was a long day. But it was so much fun.

Other highlights:
~We jumped from a moving tour bus at Versailles, don't worry it wasn't moving fast, but it was comical. We got to a speed bump, threw open the door and started jumping out... all the while Amber was yelling "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
~Just because something looks like a walkway, doesn't mean it is. And should you misjudge, they'll go all crazy French on you. Good times.
~The things you remember as a kid, don't always line up with reality... tragic.
~Just because cupid looks decent from one side... doesn't mean he really is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Celebrating Anarchy Early...

Because who can tell the French to do anything?
Apparently having one day to celebrate the destruction of a governing system isn't enough, the celebrations must start early and must continue late into the night. So, I'm awake.
Tomorrow is Bastille day here in France, and I'm quite excited, however, in honor of all the royalty who made stupid decisions leading up to the storming of the Bastille and the decapitation of Louis XVI we are headed to Versailles, the root of the problems leading to the storming of the Bastille. Basically, it can be argued, and quite well, that if the royalty had not moved to Versailles and become separated from the common people in Paris (more than they already were that is) the Revolution would not have taken on the same level or had the same results. Louis XVI was not the problem, he just happened to be the unlucky inheritor of his ancestors poor decisions. Poor Louis. Although, to the people's credit, he was sort of a wimpy ruler, and had he tried to exert more ruling power and actually do something as opposed to whine that everyone was picking on him things might have turned out slightly differently. But that's just my opinion. None the less, I am ecstatic to visit Versailles and pick up cool historical trivia and perhaps piece some answers together.

Here are my most recent observations in Pareeee:
1. French men are beautiful. To look at. But only to look at. Because they stink. A lot.
2. I want a pet bunny. I held bunnies in the Sunday pet market and am now wishing I could have one. If I named it fish do you think the apartment complex would get cranky with me?
3. Bunnies and French men probably have a lot in common. They are fun to look at, but when you get close and spend time around them they stink. I don't think I want a bunny.
4. Amber's blond moments get better and better. Upon hearing Dr. C and I discussing a falaffel restaurant here in Paris she piped in, "What's falaffel, is it like a Waffle?" Oh Amber. Have no fear, I am going to educate her as to the beauties of falaffel, which in fact, is nothing like a waffle.
5. The only way to stay awake in a Lasser lecture is to do your homework during the lecture, and even then, it's tricky.
6. This program is made up mostly of composers. Composers are interesting people. They can be divided into four groups. The quirky, the quirkier, the quirkiest, and the stoned. And at least half of them, no matter what time of the day it is, look like they just got out of bed. I blame Beethoven.
7. When you get too many musicians together really really shameless and awful music jokes abound. And everyone finds them funny.
8. Palestrina wrote and augmented second. Shame on you, Palestrina.
9. Getting distracted in the Subway can take you on adventures you never even dreamed of.
10. Boiled eggs in sandwiches are amazing.
11. Counterpoint is entertaining, until you realize you wrote all parallel fifths and outlined a tritone. Then you just want to cry.
12. Stella C-Money is the Bomb.

Favorite quote of the day:
"There are four types of chords: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the forgotten"
~ Joseph S.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dear Dad,

Today we went to the Louvre, it was AMAZING!!! But I missed having you there, because I had no one who wanted to read all the signs with me. I saw a ton of cool stuff but no one wanted to go quite slow enough. However, I did take some cool pictures and I read all about each exhibit, so here's what I saw:

We started in the ancient statue exhibit, there were statues of all the greco-roman gods and statues of many of the emperors. I took pictures with Aphrodite, Diocletian, and Marc Antony. After going through the statues (they also had some really cool sarcophoguses, sarcophogi? However you say it... they had cool caskets that were covered in beautiful high relief carvings). We went upstairs and started in the early renaissance art and then went through French artists of the 18th century. It was amazing. I saw so many paintings I'd only ever read about. However, I did not get a picture of the Mona Lisa. I walked by it, looked at it from a distance and promptly took a picture of the masses of people trying to get a picture of the Mona Lisa. I was satisfied. There were beautiful paintings by David and Delacroix in the French section. In the Italian section they had a little write up about how the artist Titan was the first painter to use really perfect the technique of piling lots and lots of layers onto a single canvas to build up a color. I thought that was cool. Then we visited early Byzantine art with lots of beautiful religious paintings. It was great.
In between the European art and the next gallery there was a beautiful room that was completely decked out. The walls were covered in gold relief and tons and tons of paintings. Most of the paintings were of architects (potentially those who contributed to the building of the Louvre maybe?) but there were also two French kings pictured in there. Louis XIV and Henry IV had their portraits up on the wall. Henry was cool, but Louis seemed like an ironic choice since he was the monarch who ditched the Louvre for Versailles, but who am I to judge?
After going through much or European art we ended up back in the Roman section and we visited a room that had tons of really really old blown glass. Did you know that the Romans were the ones who developed the method that we use today for blowing glass. Cool! The method used today for glass blowing is almost exactly the same one that the Romans would have used. They would shape some dishes themselves and other ones were blown into a mold and then allowed to cool. There were also a lot of later roman pots that were soooooo cool to look at. Poor Amber and Danielle didn't know quite what they were in for when they took me to a museum.
Finally we ended today's expedition in the Egypt section, which was sooooooo cool. They had mummies and sarcophagi and statues and I was grinning from ear to ear. Amber has a whole lot of pictures of me looking like a kid at Christmas or reading through all sorts of cool information.
Tomorrow we have a big masterclass and I will be playing in my trio for Narcis Bonet, who is a really cool famous old French musician. He speaks little to no English, but he speaks Spanish, so we can communicate. I keep running into him on the subway coming home from classes and I'm in another class that he teaches. All those years of Spanish are being put to some good use here.
I'll upload some pictures later. My internet is being really really slow.
Love ya,
Nicole

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh the Metro...

*warning, this post is... um... yeah... read at your own risk*

Soooooooo today we are on the subway in rush hour. Which is always really memorable, to say the least, because we are all crammed in like sardines and you just have to deal with the claustrophobia and the stench. It's also fun because Amber is usually really food deprived so she gets a little loopy and quotes Disney and starts hearing voices. However, today's events took unique/awkward to a whole new level.

We crammed onto the train to take us to our next stop and after having been on they for a few minutes the guy behind Danielle leans forward and says "your bag is a bit too heavy for my balls." Apparently he was slightly squished.

I did warn you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I've been thinking...

With all this hype about Michael Jackson's funeral today, I've been wondering, what will he look like in the resurrection? Black, White, Male or Female???

Sunday, July 5, 2009

An American in Paris

Yesterday was the Fourth. And I was in Paris. It was all I could do to keep from running into the streets and yelling "GENERAL LAFAYETTE!!!" But, I refrained. Be proud.

We had a lovely fourth. It started, as hinted in my previous post, with castleing. Which was amazing, and I am awesome (see previous post again). Following the castle visit we walked through a Gothic cathedral and Danielle and I explored some of the town. We then visited a certain composer's house. You'll have to guess who, because legally I can't tell you who. But he looked like this as a kid:



His house was beautiful. He was somewhat of a recluse and chose the village because it was small and quiet. He was also an insomniac and needed somewhere to try and get some sleep. The view from his house was beautiful and the house itself was really lovely. He was apparently quite the handyman and did much of the work on the house himself. For example, his living room appeared to be perfectly symmetrical, but actually he had moved the wall forward to create the illusion that the room was even. The space left he used to store copies of his scores. Also, this particular composer, apart from being a reclusive insomniac, was extremely child like and his house was full of many practical joke objects. He had a tea cup with a hole drilled in the bottom that he liked to give guests, our director said his teacher remembers meeting this composer and having this prank pulled. He also had a beautiful little bell that guests would try to ring, never knowing that he had put ceramic inside of the bell to muffle it. He also had a pretty substantial toy chest. He had a beautiful library with many old books (something else he colected, bought mostly for beauty, not for reading.) Finally there was his composition room. It was quite beautiful, but very very dark, with drapes over the windows and door. Our guide said this was to help him focus and to reach a different level. Perhaps by dimming the visual stimulation one could be a better auditory artist. This composer wrote many of his most famous works from this room, including the piece that has made more money than any other piece in the history of music. Pretty amazing. The piece, which features a recurring melody that never stops, was inspired by his childhood experience of watching the machines at the car factory where his father worked not by a dance as many assume. The largest painting in the room was one of his mother, who often sang to this composer and inspired the melodies for many of his great works. Down stairs was the bedroom and bathroom, which both showed how he was slightly OCD. He wasn't a show off with his appearance because he dressed up regardless, he just liked to look good. The garden outside was beautiful and was modeled after a Japanese Zen garden. All put together by this composer.







In the evening a group of about twelve of us went out for a night on the town. American Style. We hit up a pancake joint and then walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower where a few of the group sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Not sure the French appreciated that one. Oh well. The walk was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. It was fun for us because we were able to talk and get to know each other. For those who were interested I ranted about cool historical goodness as we walked down the Seine, thus earning a place as the person to be asked questions when ever anything looked cool. Reading that French history book has paid off. It was nice for me because as I was talking through everything I was able to solidify placement of rulers and events, and those who listened seemed to like learning a little more.

Observations:
~ I like small towns in France much more than Paris. I really just don't care for big cities. It is sooooo crowded and smelly. That said, I am enjoying it here, but I really really loved the little town.
~ Lee, one of the composers here is 6'9. We both sandwiched Amber and it was rather comical, sometime we'll get a picture and I'll post it.
~ Tried another cheese today. Liked it, but wouldn't buy it again. Sooo, total I've tried 13 and liked 11.
~ Placement exams today went well. It's so liberating to do counterpoint when you have no idea how. You just shove down notes. Part writing rules are for sissies.
~ Blonde moments for Amber: 3 in two days. Not bad. According to Amber, San Fransisco is tricky to find, Pancakes need warning before photo ops, and Harrold B. Lee has a thing for brick oven... guess when you're cool enough you can get permission to come back for these things.
~ Pizza in the park is glorious.
~ Dr. Lasser isn't nearly as intimidating as I expected. I had my piano placement exam with him and was really nervous but he was sooooooo nice and I didn't bomb it completely.
~ Notre Dame is still more beautiful at night. Actually Paris is better at night, because it stinks less and everything is all lit up.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

History Child, Hear me ROAR!!!

Today we visited an ancient Roman Caste. This is how I feel
about castles:


Now here are some pictures of the castle:





Now, for anyone who knows castles, does this look Roman to you? Nope. The Romans left Europe long before castles like this were being built. Hence the style for the arrow slits, the size and the style of the walls and layout of the castle. Also note the grooves where the roof would have been held up. Upon wandering the castle I became extremely irked, pronounced it cleeeeeeeearly not Roman and personally dated it at an early 1100. Upon returning home I looked it up. It was built in 996. Basically I feel freaking awesome. Our director may really really know music, but don't mess with me when it comes to castles. Not to mention after wandering around I determined that there must have been an outer wall because the keep was rather small and lacking in defenses. Minimal arrow slits and it seemed that the gate would have been small. I dragged Danielle and Amber with me and not too far from the castle what did we find, but the ruined wall. BASICALLY I AM A FREAKING AWESOME AMAZING CASTLE LOVING FIEND!!!

If you run into me in the next few days I will probably still be gloating.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Amber, where are you going?

This is a phrase I will probably use many many many maaaaaaaaany times over the next month. *grin*

My first week in Paris has been absolutely wonderful. I have seen so much and loved it here. Buuuuuuuuuut, I figure you don't want a play by play of my week lest I keep you here for far too long. So here are the highlights of this first week.

Sightseeing has been the primary focus because once classes start on Monday we really don't have much free time. When I got in I took a short nap and headed with Francois (the lady I was staying with) to Monmatre, a beautiful Byzantine Cathedral on the north end of the city. It is completely white and has beautiful mosaics inside. After walking through we explored around the cathedral through what I have come to learn is the Artists Quarter. Many famous french actors and artists have lived in this section and many of the houses are very old and beautiful. Could I tell you the names of anyone who lives there, heck no! I was incredibly jet lagged, but I did get some cool pictures.

Tuesday I got up and went sightseeing with Claire, the 21 year old daughter of a friend of Francois. She took me to Notre Dame and we wandered through some of the quarters in the near area. I remember visiting Notre Dame when I came to Paris 12 years ago, but this time it was a much different experience. I find visiting Cathedrals to be very sad. The art and architecture is beautiful but these are buildings that were originally very sacred places being trampled through by hundreds of tourists. In the medieval era these Cathedrals were the center of cities, all life revolved around these houses of worship, and they were so well loved. As I have visited the Cathedrals of Paris I often find myself wishing for another time when these buildings were loved and cherished and their symbolism understood.

At Notre Dame we were able to walk through the main portion and then go up onto the roof. It was incredibly hot but completely worth it. The view from Notre Dame was absolutly incredible and we also visited the bell tower that had the biggest bell named Emmanuel. Traditionally bells are christened after they are cast and at their christening they are given a name that often will stick with them for life. This one was given the name ______________ Emmanuel. I don't remember the first name.

Wednesday we visited San Chapelle and wandered through the really really ritzy shopping district. It was cool to look in all the windows there. San Chapelle is absolutely beautiful and the history is quite fun. It was built by King Louis who not long after his death became St. Louis for all he did for Christianity during his reign. He was incredibly pious and went on many pilgrimages and crusades along with sponsoring the construction of many churches. This particular church was built to house the "true" crown of thorns. Oh, relics.

The church had two levels, a lower chapel where the servants of the king could come to worship, and the upper chapel is where the royal family would go. For many years it was the official church where the royal family would come to from the Louvre to worship. It is absolutely beautiful. Most of the walls are stained glass windows thanks to the very very best use of flying buttresses to be seen anywhere. There are fifteen massive windows with a large rose window in the back. Each window showed a book from the Bible. The first window was Genesis and so on. The three windows of particular note are the fifth window which depicted the crowning of the Kings of Israel, the thirteenth window which depicted the book of Esther, and the rose window. King Louis, and subsequent kings, always sat below the fifth window thereby alluding the their divine right to the throne by drawing the connection to the religiously based Kings of Israel. Queen Mother Blanche sat under the window depicting the book of Esther. It was symbolic because Esther had saved her people from death as Blanche saved her French subjects from the trials of having a child king when her husband died early. The final Rose Window in the back of the Chapel depicted (quite vividly) the apocalypse and the end of the world. It faced west and was to remind the king that he was to guide his people to Christ until He would return. (I told you there was freaking awesome imagery in these cathedrals!!!)

Thursday was my down day, I slept a lot and finally finished making the time change and spent some time figuring out Paris and practicing. So, on the whole, not much for you. Although, in the evening we went out walking and I was able to impress the French with my sweeeeeet knowledge of French History. (It's really not that up to snuff, but on the way over I read through a french history book, so I can sort of hold my own, and at least do better than they expect from Americans. I still feel woefully out of the loop, because often it takes me a few minutes to place rulers and movements and so on, but I am getting there. It's frustrating though, because British history comes so easily... French history, not so much. Too many similar names right next to each other. At least the Brits tend to space their names out and when they don't the son with the same name usually tries to distinguish himself by doing something absurd like marrying six different women and breaking from a main religion.) But, back to my main rant, they pointed out a statue of Henry IV and I was actually able to hold on a conversation about him! He is a real favorite of the people because he really worked for the common man... well more than his predecessors... none of them really cared too much, hence the French Revolution.

Today I came to the dorms and met up with some other students from BYU and a few others and we headed to Museo de Orle (or something like that... that's how the darn thing sounded). There were paintings, and lots of statues. My favorites were some by Monet, and some pastels that we saw. Severine, I found the ultimate painting for you, and will probably send you a picture of it soon. You'll love it. There were also some rooms of black and white pen sketches that were amusing at first but after too many rooms they were slightly disturbing. They all were male figures with animal heads running off with naked women. Awkward. "Hi Mom, Hi Dad, meet my boyfriend, he's a real animal!" yeah, awkward.
Tomorrow we head to Ravel's house, which will be absolutely amazing and I will probably still be freaking out one week from today. Some of the piano majors are going to play his compositions on his piano in his studio... so so so so so so excited.


Observations:
~I tend to associate smells with places. Home smells like Indian curry, the dorms smell like Ramen, the practice rooms smell like feet (on a good day), China smells like urine, and France smells like B.O. Lots and lots of BO. Particularly on the subways at rush hour. I'm just glad I am tall and don't have hairy men putting their arm over me to reach the hand holds. EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!
~ To date I have tried 12 cheeses and liked 10 and 1/2. The only one I was adamently opposed to was a very very ransid smelling piece of blue cheese. Goat Cheese gets a half, because I didn't mind it, but I would go out of my way to get more. Some of those cheeses though, I could eat them for ever! The family I stayed with joked that I must have been French in another life because I can eat cheese like the French.
~ The key to eating lots of new cheeses is to not smell them before you taste them. There should be no inhaling before biting, because the smell can be a real turn off. That's what killed the blue cheese for me. It didn't taste too bad, but the smell made me gag.
~Paris truly is the city of love, and boy have I seen a lot of it in just one week. It's like being at BYU near the end of the semester... *gag*
~ Wednesday I heard Qawwali music (pronounce Ka-bali) in the streets and felt two things. First I was excited because I LOVE Qawwali, and then I felt slightly nerdy because I actually knew what it was and recognized it. But it was still really really cool and fun to hear.
~ Notre Dame is beautiful during the day, but stunning at night, go twice if you are here. Once to see inside and once to see it lit up, it is AMAZING!
~ After dealing with Chinese vendors these French vendors seem soooooooo reserved. They don't even yell things like "hey lady, hey lady" or anything! It's great. And if you walk away from their stall they don't follow you.
~ Europeans are much taller than I expected. I fit in here much more than I thought I would, I believe all those articles that I have read that state that Americans on average are getting shorter, because I feel more normal with regards to height than I do in the states.
~ The bread, oh the bread, I am in love. The end.

I will upload pictures later. I'm exhausted. Soooo, good night. I shall dream of Ravel and cheese (but not together...)