I Do Go Outside, I Promise: the Roughness of Real Life

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This morning Mom and I got up and drove downtown for an open rehearsal of my local symphony. I love downtown, and I love the symphony, and I love Dvorak. (And I love my mom.) I’d never seen professional musicians rehearse, only perform, and I was excited to see the sort of rough version of the polished symphonies I always go to see. Of course I know that massive amounts of work go into performing, but seeing the orchestra work together and handle critiques and tackle problems as a whole was something I was really looking forward to.

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It was so cool to see. I’m used to going to the symphony in fancy-dress, with a million other people (who have an average age of eighty-three), and all the musicians are wearing black and white tie and the lights are low, and there’s an air of excitement and togetherness and evening. At rehearsal, all the musicians are in normal day clothes, chatting, drinking coffee on stage, and making funny faces at each other during pieces. You can see (if not hear) when they mess up because of their scowls and their hasty comments to their stand partners. The conductor shouts over the music and you see the object of his critique nodding and setting aside his instrument to mark his part while the rest of the orchestra plays on.

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The music was still great—I adore Dvorak (as I’ve said a million times), and it still sounded wonderful to my ears—but something about the fact that it was a rehearsal made it so much better. It felt more intimate, somehow. Maybe it was the fact that I was one of very few people watching. Maybe it was because I got to see their mistakes. Maybe because it all felt so very human, I felt connected with the symphony on a personal level. The clothes, the critiques, the conversation, the coffee, all of these things just drove home the fact that no matter how skilled, how amazing these musicians are, they are people. They make mistakes, they still have to practice, they’re far from perfect, but they come together and they make this mindblowingly spectacular music that just comes alive, that finds your soul and holds it in its hands and says we are all humanwe all feel things so deeply, we can all relate to each other in our emotions, in our passions, in our longings, in that which we strive for. We all love and are loved, we all have things we care about, things we miss, things that move us, things we can’t stand—we all feel, and in this music, in this joint effort of everyday, imperfect people, in this expression of the massive, incredible masterpiece of human emotion, I can see that so clearly.

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After the rehearsal, I had the opportunity to speak with the maestro, and I asked what he thought the greatest thing about Dvorak is. He looked over the stage as he spoke, like the spirit of Dvorak still lingered in the air where his music had just been played with such fervor. He told me that he thinks the greatest thing about Dvorak is that he never lost his folk influences. Even after coming to America, even with his work being shaped by masters and becoming more and more sophisticated, even in his fame and high circles of society, he never lost the earthiness, the realness of the folk, bohemian songs of his home in Prague. Maestro joked, “You know Czechoslovakians, they go ten miles outside of Prague and they’re homesick!” The incredible thing about Dvorak is the same thing I loved about seeing the symphony rehearse: he preserves in all his music the feeling of humanity, the roughness of real life. The simple, unassuming folk music that pervades and influences his work reminds you of his home, his people, and that the most longed for things in life aren’t the most sophisticated or the most urbane, but the most real, the things that make us feel loved and alive and human.

What I love the most about Dvorak is his ability to relate to you on a deeply, personal, intimate level—and that if you can break from your trance, you realize that his music touches the hearts of everyone who really cares and really listens, and it reminds you that at our core, we are all but men, longing to be loved and to belong. Despite our differences, every person deserves respect and kindness, to be accepted and treated as one would treat oneself, because all people share a bond of humanity, the brotherhood of being a member of mankind; crazy, beautiful, wonderful, individual, but still deeply, deeply familial mankind.

Also, I really loved this sign.

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Best wishes,
Hero

 

 

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Did I Say Tomorrow? Obviously I Meant “Not Tomorrow” (May Report Card)

Oh gosh. Hi. I am the worst. Please hate me.

Now that we have that out of the way, I am going to pretend I don’t keep forgetting to blog & act like everything is totally fine.

Yep. Totally fine. It’s not like I have the biggest cello auditions of my entire high-school career next week, and it’s not like I’m starting with a new teacher – the principal cellist of the symphony – after that… Oh no, that’s not happening, and even if it were I wouldn’t be stressed out about it, of course not… Heh…. Heh…

I’m slowly descending into madness. Don’t mind me.

Hopefully after my auditions, I’ll get back into the regular swing of blogging. I feel slightly hungover from going to see Mahler’s 3rd symphony last night, so please excuse any and all lack of enthusiasm/tired ramblings… I didn’t get much sleep and I have a rather large headache.

Anyway it’s June 1st how did that happen. I’m a bit late on wrapping up my May Report card, but wrap it up I shall… I feel really good about this month; though I can’t remember all my resolutions, so I probably failed one thanks to not being able to actually… remember… it. xP

MAY REPORT CARD

1. Videocall with my friends more often. A! I probably tripled the amount of video calls I did, which was awesome. Getting to see my friends’ faces and voices is so amazing. 🙂 I would give myself an A+, except I never got to do a call with Julia or Kira, so I wasn’t totally successful.

2. Get back into my spiritual reading. F. Big fat F. I probably read one chapter of Interior Castles this entire month. (This must’ve been the resolution I’d forgotten about.)

3. Write my 2013 Summer Bucket list. B – I wrote the bucket list, but I don’t think it’s finished yet. I just don’t have a lot of ideas. Leave comments with fun summer things to do so I don’t spend it watching Phineas and Ferb!

I Sorted My Cello into a Hogwarts House

For the record, I am aware that it’s Wednesday. If you’re worried that I’ve given up the interwebs for Lent again and will once again take a forty-five day hiatus, don’t be. This year I’m just banning tumblr – as well as a few other things I find myself entirely too dependent on (coffee, for one). I don’t really have any excuse for not blogging yesterday except that I hit an emotional speedbump and decided to moan about it instead. [cue rolling about on the floor and whining and being a general Richard II]

This post is sort of a general status update, seeing as I’ve been sort of scattered recently.

Books Challenge

I’m actually ahead of schedule – I’ve read 6 so far. Unfortunately Les Misérables is still on hold until I finish Richard III (the biography not the tragedy) and all these Shakespeare plays I’ve decided to undertake. I have been picking up one of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals every now & again over the past couple days… attempting to cope… failing…

Got this email from Tatiana:

WobblesSo that’s basically what we’ve been reduced to.

Orchestra

We got new music on Sunday. I hated it at first, but it’s growing on me. I’ll just tell you that sight-reading Colas Breugnon by Kabalevsky WITH A SUBSTITUTE CONDUCTOR when you’re already in a foul mood does not endear you to a piece. It really doesn’t.

[Let’s just go ahead and say flat out that I have been in a pretty terrible state over the past couple of days & it’s only getting worse. Gah.]

Anyway, on the subject of orchestra/cello/etc, I’ve decided that Evvy is a Gryffindor. (My last cello was Ravenclaw, and I’ll explain this in a moment…)

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So where the strings of a cello connect to the fine tuners, there’s a covering of thread, most likely so the tuners can grip well enough. My last cello had dark blue and copper-y/gold thread – but Evvy’s scarlet & gold. Gryffindor.

Which explains a lot, actually. Like why she’s so stubborn and temperamental. […okay, I’m… crazy… I know…]

Other Orchestra Stuff

Went to see a friend of mine perform in a Brahms concert with the senior group of my youth orchestra: she was only in a couple of them & I proceeded to feel guilty about enjoying the symphony much more than the chorus. 😛 (I can’t help it! They played Hungarian Dances – three of them!)

I was going to see another Brahms performance tomorrow night, but it fell through. C’est la vie. I’ll probably stay in and spend the evening watching movies instead.

Which reminds me…

Random Stuff I’m Getting Kind of Obsessed With (Running Out of Names for This)

Kaylee’s my favorite so far.

1. Firefly! The classic one-season space-western from Joss Whedon that my friends have been nagging me to watch since the dawn of time. I was originally put off from the show because the pilot episode is kind of… iffy… but I’ve given it another go and am definitely enjoying it so far.

The whole space-western thing confuses me, though: at this point the only things wester about it are the fact that sometimes Zoë says ‘ain’t’ and all the music is very Lone Ranger. I’ve been told it’ll make sense to me later (that and a lot of things), but the stuff I do understand outweighs the stuff I don’t, so I’m okay. (The reverse of that statement is true for Homestuck, by the way. I just… Confused. All the time.)

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Currently…

2. Sudoku. I’ve always liked sudoku – my aunt even gave me an electronic sudoku gizmo (that I have since lost, but it was a while ago) – but I recently found my old barely touched sudoku book and have been obsessively solving puzzles. On the day I found it I tore through eight puzzles in one afternoon. It’s gotten to the point where I can actually walk around the house/have conversations with people while working on a puzzle. (I thought I was so clever at Marian Group for holding it under the table during the meeting… turns out everybody could tell, but nobody cared enough to tell me off about it.)

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I’ve sticky-tabbed the life out of the blue book…

3. Prayer. 😛 (This is cheating, but I don’t care.) This is your Ash Wednesday reminder that Lent isn’t just about giving up chocolate and waiting for the Easter Bunny. This is one of the first few years that I’ve actually been mature enough to go deeper during Lent, and I’m actually excited to take advantage of this prayer-intensive time. I’ve bookmarked all my favorite prayers in With Mary in Prayer (blue for rough times/things going wrong, pink for prayers for the journey onward, yellow asking for help and guidance, and orange for the night prayer) and I’m going to try and keep it on me and take a few minutes every now and again throughout the day to ask for that guidance and that grace that I so desperately need. Also, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is my new best friend. I started saying it daily for Morgann because I offered it to her for her spiritual bouquet on her birthday – we said it together at the silent retreat we went on, so it holds special meaning in our heart. After the week of the chaplet I’d promised was over, I found myself gravitating back to it. It’s short enough that I always have time to fit it in somewhere and literally can’t make any excuses not to pray it, yet it’s still profound and deeply calming in its rhythm.

4. Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS.  As I mentioned a couple posts ago, some of the girls in my history class are reading the Henriad & Richard III to supplement our history texts this session. As much as I love Shakespeare, sometimes it can be hard for me to get into the plays – a lot of times I don’t understand who relates to who and it takes me ages to understand what the heck is going on. At the same time, I abjectly refuse to watch the movie before I read the play: that’s cheating. 😉 So the other day while searching around online for Ben Whishaw’s rendition of Richard II (very good, by the way, I’d put The Hollow Crown on my list of new obsessions, except it just ties into this), I found PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered. What they do is go deeper into the plays, find the history and the meaning in it, and give you a broad understanding of the play. Watching this gave me ground to stand on when I went back to the play, and made the reading infinitely easier. If I finish my history work tonight, this is my reward. 🙂

5. Oh my goodness this post goes on forever… Okay… Last one: pictures! I spent a good chunk of time today picking out pictures of me and my friends to fill this plethora of picture frames I found. I’m hoping to hang them around my room so I can remind myself of the people who care about me and make me smile, even when I’m feeling grumpy. (Though usually they’re the ones who’re making me grumpy, so… *smacked*)

Okay, this is far enough – I need to wrap up and go back to my history work. If you read thus far, give yourself a pat on the back. You earned it.

Best wishes,
Hero

P.S. Remind me on Friday to tell you guys about the ‘things I’m freaking out about’ category that I decided to cut. 😛

A Very Merry Tuesday to You (and You)

Writing up a quick post to get back in the swing of things — I may have to dash off, a friend of mine is coming over to bum our washing machine because his is broken…

In the meantime, some quick updates:

  • I finished reading my first book of 2013! Fahrenheit 451 – number 1 of 50 (hopefully). I’m trying the 50 books in a year challenge again… I tried last year but lost track and while I may have read 50 books I didn’t keep a count or make a list or anything. I’m going to keep a list going on the blog, so a new page should be up with this post that I’ll be updating throughout the year.
  • I’m working on a meal plan that I hope to finish by the end of this week — lots of yummy & interesting (aka: freaky hippy) dishes that I think will be fun. 🙂
  • My brother bought a Wii U with his Christmas money. I’ve only played once, and I’m such a failure at video games. It’s mildly hilarious.
  • School is back up & I actually missed it. I’m glad to be back – even if I did drown in Latin today.
  • Even better than school: we’re back at orchestra! My director has missed the last couple practices because of performances and we really really miss him… I got to go to one of those performances with Frankie and my director spotted me in the audience (I have a bright red coat so I’m kind of impossible to miss) and I may have guilt tripped him about abandoning us… *cough* I’m in love with our music, though, and he’ll be back next week. 😀
  • Season 3 of Downton Abbey. That is all.
  • Frankie & Lauren got me this for Christmas and it’s embarrassingly accurate.

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They also got me a DVD of Hamlet, portayed by David Tennant – they know me too well. It is literally the perfect gift.

  • I went to see Les Mis and cried for 80% of the movie. It’s the greatest. Seriously – if you’re even slightly considering going to see it, go see it. Just go. I enjoyed it more than the Hobbit, but I do have a bias.

That’s all for me right now! I’ve got some fun posts planned for this month: thoughts on turning sixteen, recap of my December goals – maybe a lit post or two if you’re lucky. 😛 I’m hoping to go over testing out my new recipes… And other fun things. In the meantime, I’m off to get ready for bed and pray my rosary before snuggling under my huge duvet with Little Women.

A very merry Tuesday to you! I’ll catch you sometime later this week.

~Hero

P.S. Fiddling with a new theme… What do you think?

Quick Status Update as My Fingers Fall Off

Howdy! It’s been a while. Apologies about that. Things are hectic over here and since I am STILL sans laptop, blogging is (nod to Julia, here) muy difficult-o. (Actual Spanish word is actual.)

I thought I’d pop in and give a quick update on the status of affairs over here to tide you over until I can post for real.

Status update #1: New cello! Yes, as it was obvious from the last post, I have a new cello – her name is Éponine (NOT Frankie the Gay Cello… Remind me to tell that story at some point). Éponine herself is an angel, pure and simple – her case, on the other hand… 100% diva. I’m not even kidding you. I’m the last one out of orchestra rehearsals every Sunday because Little Miss Diva Case refuses to close and latch properly while people are looking at her. I swear. So I’m in the corner for ten minutes like, “How about you close now? Could you do that for me? THANKS.”

Status update #2: Speaking of orchestra, my first concert is this weekend. My mom and I got into a slight quarrel because I feel really uncomfortable sending out an invitation to the concert because I feel like it’s kind of pretentious… So I kept hovering over her while she drafted an invitation AGAINST MY WILL and trying to get her to add things like, “Hero says it’s no big deal if you can’t come… Really, she won’t be offended… Honestly, it’s nothing…” But she wouldn’t. (At one point she sarcastically wrote: “Hero doesn’t want any of you to come because she knows you all have lives and would rather attend youth group or eat ice cream or go to the zoo.”) Oh well.

Status update #3: Because of said concert, our orchestra director has been running us into the ground at rehearsal. We had practice yesterday and I still have a cramp in my left hand — not to mention that my fingertips feel like pumice… Ugh.

Status update #4: Morgann and I went as newsies for Halloween, and it was awesome.

Status update #5: I have to go feed the dogs, so this post is cut short. 😦 See you next time, hopefully with a real post!

~Hero

A Series of Lists

I think the worst part about making promises on a blog is that I can’t lie and pretend y’all misheard me and that I said I was going to post on Monday, not whatever silly day you thought I was going to… Because then you could just pull up the post before this one and call me out on being a loser.

Which I’d deserve. Because I am a loser.

But, anyway. Here’s a series of lists of excuses and things I’m into and maybe some resolutions and stuff.

Excuses

1. I promised pictures of my room… But my camera that committed suicide last month (or the month before that) has not miraculously revived itself yet, so I don’t have any pictures.

2. Also, it’s a mess.

3. I could take pictures with my mom’s phone of my bathroom, since it’s nearly done, but I have to put up my Little Mermaid posters first and they’re still at Essie’s house in a box somewhere and I have to retrieve them and it’s raining and I can’t go fetch a box in the rain.

4. I decided to be studious and take a religion test that I was supposed to take a week ago last night instead of writing this post, except I was so afraid of doing poorly on it that I took an hour and a half and didn’t finish until ten o’clock because Tanith called me in the middle of it and it’s entirely her fault I swear.

5. I am very tired. I only had two cups of coffee today and they didn’t help.

6. It’s raining. That’s somehow relevant and blame-worthy.

7. The Packers won last night and I was too busy rejoicing to post. Yes.

Reasons Why October is Awesome

1. I turn 16 this month! Yikes!

2. I take the PSAT. Wait. No. That’s not good.

3. HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN! *flails* I love Halloween. The one day of the entire year when it’s socially acceptable to wear a costume everywhere.

4. Chair auditions for my orchestra…? Erm…? Maybe that’s a good thing.

5. We have a dance this month! And every month! But this month especially! Yay!

6. I now live in the fun neighborhood, with Landon and Essie and Tanith! And the house is full of boxes and I have no idea which light switches do what and we have no food in the fridge. Ugh. So, basically, fun times.

7. The new Taylor Swift album is out this month! 😀

Things I’m Into This Month

1. NEWSIES. As is obvious. Kelli gave me the final shove and I’ve now got it on hold at the library! 🙂

2. I just discovered the Addams Family musical the other day… ‘One Normal Night’ is one of my favorite songs ever. “Were you folks right for the Mezzanine? Who’s to say.”

3. Rain! I don’t know if rain is something you can be “into”, but it’s been raining all week, and that’s not something that happens often here. When I get home from Algebra tutoring today, I might try and dig my rain boots out of whatever ridiculous box they’re in (I’ll never find them) and go stomp around in the puddles. Of course, the rain has a dark side: our dogs are tracking muddy footprints abso-blooming-lutely (if you get that reference, I love you) all over the kitchen.

4. Sweaters. It’s still too warm here for sweaters, but we’ve had a bit of breeze this week so I’ve been using that as an excuse to wear sweaters. I mean, come on! It’s October! Could we please stop having sweaty humid days and let the leaves fall already?

The Most Annoying Things About Moving

1. I don’t know what any of these light switches do. There are a hundred light switches in the breakfast nook I’m sitting in right now, and I know what exactly TWO of them do because my mom got so sick of flipping the wrong switch that she pulled out the label maker and labeled them.

2. My room is a mess and I don’t even have all my stuff in it. I haven’t gotten anything organized, so the entire room looks like something exploded.

3. I’m now behind in all my schoolwork. I sent in a chemistry test today that was due on Friday. *fumes*

4. Loads of things are still packed. I had to go bum a stamp and envelope off Landon and Stella to mail the aforementioned chemistry test (that hopefully I didn’t fail – this chapter was hard, I had to call in Frankie for moral support/tutoring).

5. We only have one TV and it’s in the loft, right next to my room. (I’m the only one upstairs.) Which means my dad watches TV late into the night right outside my door with the surround sound on. Because he can.

6. I wasn’t able to practice my cello all week, and now that I’ve picked it up again (chair auditions next Sunday! Agh!), my fingers are falling to pieces. Again. (By falling to pieces I mean that I get blisters on top of my calluses because my calluses are divas or something and refuse to help me out, and so those blisters break and peel and the skin on my fingertips look like they’re falling apart. Ugh. It’s gross, but whatcha gon’ do? Grin and bear it.)

I’m going to go now, get back to my schoolwork so Tanith and I can go puddle-stomping this evening (provided she finishes her school). (She won’t.) I will try my very hardest to get my room cleaned and organized so I can take some preliminary pictures and get them up tomorrow!

Thanks for reading! I love you all! Sorry about being late.

Again.

~Hero

P.S. Resolutions

1. I have one resolution this month: to do a daily devotional. I have a little reading corner in my new room, so I’m going to try to curl up with the Bible readings for the day and a cup of coffee and my journal, and start my day off right. 🙂