YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE

I probably care too much about football but too bad. Ugh, such a beautiful match today, even without Gerrard, AKA the most gorgeous man alive. I swear.

Anyway, I’ve had a ridiculously insane week in which I completely lost my mind and spent an entire day wearing pajamas and eating nothing but week-old Mexican food and hot chocolate. It wasn’t pretty (though the Mexican food wasn’t bad).

My blogging will probably be more regular now that I’m on Christmas break. Pray for me tomorrow, I’ll tell you what for afterwards, it’s a secret. 😉

Best wishes!
Hero

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As I Go Headfirst Down the Stairs

In this dimly lit study I drink my coffee and peer creepily at the cars rolling down the street, essentially ignoring all forms of  actual study. To my left are two papal encyclicals (that I’ve finished reading, thank goodness); to my right is another that is as of yet unread, but needs to be by Thursday… In front of me a book of Plato’s Dialogues, Greek Tragedies, and Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy, along with my notebooks and my folders for Driver’s Ed.

My elbow rests on my orchestra paperwork, reminding me that I still have four études, a scale, and half a solo (it should be the whole solo, but I’m hopeless) to practice on my cello, who waits patiently upstairs completely surrounded with sheet music.

Amid all this, I write a blog post and blink sullenly with the Beatles blaring in the background. It seems that when I have only a little bit of work to do, I view it as less important and so I put it off. But then when it piles up I stress to the point where I am just drowning in it so I banish it from my mind and don’t do it either.

It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.

[Enter many hours later.]

Oh. Also. I procrastinate on my methods of procrastination. For instance, this blog post! Yeah, I’m basically the worst. I also can’t remember what my original purpose in writing was.

*thinks*

Right. I’m stressed. My mom also does this uncanny thing where she walks in and starts scolding me for not working on something that I’ve actually been working on and freaking out about already. The thing is, I’m very self-regulated, and chances are that by the time you have to nag me to do something, I’ve been guilt-tripping myself over it for hours. I seem to live my life in constant panic mode.

This is something I’ve noticed recently, specifically with cello: I am a hugely tense person. I got a new cello teacher and he frequently does this thing where he looks over and goes, “Just relax your arms! No – no! Relax!” or “You remind me of how I used to be, you keep all your tension right in your jaw… Let it go.” “But I have to tense somewhere!” “No. You don’t.”

*insert feeble excuse here*

Physically, I am tense. I wake up every morning with an aching back because I clench my muscles while I sleep. I can’t just sit still; I’m jittery. I fiddle with everything – I was on a Skype call with my friend Sarah and I realized that within the space of ten minutes I’d pressed all the buttons on my calculator, turned my phone on and off six times, played with my watch, flipped through a book, spun all the buttons on my shirt around both clockwise and counterclockwise, pulled my purity ring off my finger and put it back on more times than I could count… I am physically incapable of relaxing.

I’m the same way emotionally, too. I worry incessantly – about me, what I’m doing, my life, my decisions, my failures, the amount of work I have to do… worry worry worry. I worry about other people – I have a friend who every single time he goes to a party or out at all, really, I spend the entire time wringing my hands and thinking he’s going to end up dead in a ditch or something. I’m serious! It’s constant. If I can worry about it, I will worry about it. It eats me up, my heart basically gets completely wrung out every time someone takes longer than usual to respond to a text message or I have to say something awkward to them or I think they’re upset. I’m basically a mother hen who kind of just herds all her chicks and has a complete aneurysm every time one of them is even vaguely sort of possibly out of sorts. (At art camp they called me Dorm Mom because I immediately fell into the mother position and started snapping at everyone and keeping them in line. I’m “Mumsy” to a number of my friends because I’m such a Mom about EVERYTHING.)

Overall in my life, I am happy. I stress about the work I’m doing, but ultimately I’m doing the work because I love it. Greek philosophy and drama? I’m in love with it. Cello? Same. I worry about myself and my life because I want to make sure I’m doing things that are good and true and beautiful. I worry about my friends because I love them more than life – and surely that’s a good thing?

And my restless leg syndrome is probably due to the excessive amounts of coffee I consume daily and my failure to have a normal sleep schedule. 😉 No one to blame but myself.

Even though sometimes I feel like I’m flailing and falling headfirst down the stairs, ultimately I am having one of the best summers I have ever had, with the best friends I could possibly ask for, doing everything I love, and crossing off item after item on my summer bucket list.

I realized basically two seconds ago while kind of aimlessly staring at my dresser at my favorite photo of me and Essie that failing does not make me a failure; that just because I don’t accomplish every impossible task I set down for myself, I am doing everything I can to the best of my ability, having fun, seeking wisdom, and hopefully growing a bit in the process.

After all, isn’t that what being young is all about? I may be an old biddy at heart, with my affinity for cats and sweaters and completely ancient music, and my tendency to fret endlessly about the people I care about most, and my everpresent grumpiness, but I am me and I am young and because of that I am learning and laughing and loving… and that desire to always seek wisdom, to always be able to laugh at myself and enjoy my life, and my unbridled and unabashed love for my friends and family… that is what’s going to keep me as the most youthful, hip hop & happenin’ old biddy there is for every day of my life.

Thanks for reading & best wishes!
Hero

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…)

DSCN0378

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.)

DSCN0387

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.)

Photo on 2-13-13 at 3.42 PM

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. 😛

Could it be?

Pictures of my room? It can’t be possible.

And yet it is! My room is far from finished, but I got some things tidied up the other night (at 9:30 – but I’d had coffee a little after 7 and was kind of running high… :P) and decided to photograph them!

 

The top of one bookshelf…

And some randomified close-ups.

 

Other bookshelf!

 

 

(Serendipitously, you can’t see any addresses on those letters, so I can actually post that picture.)

 

My reading nook (taken day after – obvious from the daylight outside).

And gee… what could this be?

 

Guess you’ll find out next time! 😉 Needless to say, it’s exciting news!

~Hero

 

 

BEDA Day 17: The Final Installment

Part 1
Part 2

I’m pretty much sick of talking about art camp, so I’m wrapping things up here. To tie off any loose ends, I’m gonna show you my artwork and then mention that boy who I said would become relevant and maybe some other things, depending on how I feel at the end of this post. 😉

That’s a photo of my little gallery at our exposition. I may post close ups of these if you guys want me to. In the top right corner is an arcimboldo – the technique is to arrange fruits and vegetables into a face and then paint the fruit/vegetables. Mine isn’t the best, but here’s an example of an original Arcimboldo.

Next to that is a mask I did that was supposed to represent opposites – I did night and day, obviously, but I wish I’d done happy and sad instead. Next to the mask is a felted piece – Counting Sheep. Next to thaaaaat is a mandala – I really enjoyed making that. You create and circular symmetrical design (the mandala) and do each quadrant of it in a different sort of media – I used colored paper, metallic paper, watercolor, chalk, acrylic paints, and metallic markers.

(Note: I just went to go find the mandala and photograph it for you, but it has apparently been packed. Here’s a real mandala for your enjoyment instead. It’s not multi-media, obviously.)

Underneath the mandala is my masterpiece from the week. On Wednesday we were instructed to grab some paint and do a 16×20 canvas painting in three hours. I grabbed every tube of blue acrylic paint in the classroom, waltzed up to Miss Pam and said, “I want to do a Modigliani/Picasso cross in monochromatic blue.” She laughed for an inordinate amount of time before congratulating me on my death wish.

As you can see, I’m still alive, and the painting turned out well – though Picasso didn’t show up as much as I’d originally intended. Because I painted her entirely blue, blue sort of became a running joke about me during camp – if somebody couldn’t find the tube of blue, everyone would shout to go ask me if I had it; my friends would randomly start singing “I’m blue, da ba dee, da ba di,” just to tease me, and if I said, “Guess what color I’m using?” the whole room would respond, “BLUE.”

So to prove everyone wrong, I painted the painting of the sunset/ocean/hill whatever. Without any blue. At all. It was hard – I shouted about the orange wanting to stab me with a knife for about half an hour… In fairness, I may have had a concussion. But seriously, that painting brought out the crazy artist in me. I went insane.

And then the last piece is some weaving. Obviously.

Okay, before I sign off here, I’ll mention the relevant boy. So, this week at camp was strange for me in that I was outside of my bubble. Almost all of my friends are Catholic/homeschooled/pretty much share the same worldview as I do. This was my first time completely outside of that circle while old enough to actually realize it and experience it. What am I building up to? Basically: during art camp I got asked out for the first time in my entire life.

Sheltered? Maybe.

I had to turn him down, because I don’t date and lots of other complicated reasons (also, I don’t really subscribe to society’s view of dating – I don’t understand how you can like someone enough to want to go out with them without knowing really ANYTHING about them).

Anyway, I’m off to bed. If you have any questions about camp or whatever, or if you want to see some close ups of paintings, say so in the comments. Your wish is my command! 🙂

~Hero

I Legitimately Forgot

I was working today, hunched over my computer, eyes glazed over, clicking intermittently… And my brain helpfully offered me this golden nugget of information: “It’s Thursday.”

And I was like, “Thank you, brain. I was aware that it is Thursday.”

“No, Hero, you don’t get it. It’s Thursday. As in, not Wednesday.”

*fpppppppppppp* “Oh.”

So, I’ve decided to sort of be lazy and stuff and give a general update on my life.

  • I AM FAILING NANOWRIMO. Like, seriously. FAILING MISERABLY. I haven’t even hit 25,000 words, but you know what? I got started writing a novel that I really enjoyed, and that’s all that matters.
  • Today is my friend Kristin’s birthday! (Notice, I linked to her tumblr: this is where I pretend that I don’t have the URL to her tumblr memorized because I have a life and stuff hahahahahaha…) Anyway, we met up with, like, a gazillion of our friends from church and we went to Cracker Barrel and Landon and Tanith and Odysseus and our awesome seminarian friend were there and it was a lot of fun. We got to Cracker Barrel at 9:15 and we left at — wait for it — 11:00. We finally yanked ourselves away from the table (to the relief of the waitresses) and then stood outside on the porch with all the rocking chairs for another ten minutes. It was a lot of fun and really awesome to get to have breakfast with my friends (first time I’ve ever paid for myself at a restaurant you guys: I’M SUCH A BIG GIRL). Kristin is beautiful and amazing and I freaking love her to death, so go to her tumblr and spam her ask with messages about how incredible she is because if there is one person on this planet who deserves ‘you are magical and a goddess’ spam, it’s her.
  • Tuesday night I went over to Essie’s house with the usual gang (plus Odysseus and Stella) and had a musical marathon. 😛 We watched West Side Story (which Essie somehow found neither romantic NOR SAD) and then we watched The Music Man — at which point Landon, Odysseus, and Stella (obviously those aren’t their real names, you guys – what terrible parent would name their children like that? I mean, all those names on their own are okay, I guess, but all three? Together? No worries, their real names are very not-crazy) had to go home because it was like, 11:40. *hd* And then Morgann and Essie and I stayed up until 2 watching Phantom of the Opera and the Phineas and Ferb musical… It was a lot of fun. I love my friends. 🙂
  • Working is annoying but being employed has benefits, such as being paid. So that’s that then.
  • I’m on a diet because I’m commiserating with a friend of mine, but my diet kind of stinks because I’m totally lame at dieting and I’m not exercising every day because I’m lazy. Also I ate cake yesterday that sent me wayyyyy over my calorie limit for the day (like, I was at 172% of what I was supposed to be at heh heh heh). But I’m trying. Yeahhh.
  • I really want to take a nap. Or maybe watch Mary Poppins. Or something.

Anyway, that’s all for me right now! I will now go pretend to have a life all holed up in my room watching Mary Poppins on my laptop.

~Hero

Eoin and a Polka Dot, Polka Dot, Polka Dot…

Hi guys! So I know it’s late but you know what? It’s STILL WEDNESDAY. In my book, that means I win. I’m exhausted – I spent the day with Sunny and Elinor and Shmelllllen…. (Dearest Shmella: please don’t kill me. You know I think you’re the greatest human being on this planet. That fact, however, will not stop me from calling you Shmellen and all variants of it. :P) They all sunbathed and I acted like the vampire that I am – at one point in the day the girls tried to get me to lie out in the grass with them, saying stuff like, “It’s so warm!” “It feels so good!” and I, without thinking, replied, “No! It burrrrns!” It really was making my face sting, I’m not making this up. (Augh! The hideous light of the day star!)

Because I’m so tired, I’m not going to have a super in depth post today – I’m going to give you an excerpt from my NaNo novel (it’s from Eoin’s first chapter – I love him so much!) and then leave you with a video.

But first…! As you know, I had my orchestra audition on Saturday, and I got an email yesterday telling me that I MADE IT IN!!! I didn’t make the level I wanted to, but I still did pretty dang well, and this orchestra is really hard to get into, so I’m just really excited and really proud of myself that I did it. 🙂

Alright, here’s the excerpt. Enjoy!

“Who’s next?” Eoin called, pushing his hair back from his sweaty forehead. He looked expectantly down the line of boys, who started jostling each other. Malcolm shoved Angus forward, who in turn dragged Callum away from the fence and toward Eoin. Callum aimed a kick at him, which Angus dodged, staggering into Hamish.

Eoin rolled his eyes. As a Senior Initiate, it was his job to assist the lower level Initiates in their training, in addition to his Assignment as castle guard. Every morning he woke up and made his way down to the training field, where he sparred with a group of red levels (the white levels weren’t advanced enough to go up against him – he found himself destroying them, even when he tried to hold back). After a few hours he would head up to the Initiates’ dormitories and sleep until sundown. Rhys would bring him leftovers from dinner, and Eoin would drag himself out of bed to work the night shift, patrolling up on the castle walls.

It was a tiring routine, but Eoin enjoyed it – and no matter how tired he was, he never had any trouble beating the snot out of his group of boys. (Of course, sometimes he had bad days, during which the boys never hesitated to gleefully beat the snot out of him. The system worked well.)

Hamish elbowed Angus. “Shove off, you cretin.” He shook out his wrist and grabbed his sword. “I’ll go.”

Eoin grinned. “Excellent.” Hamish had recently decided it would be a good idea to nick Eoin’s armor and hide it in the stables, where Eoin had found it later, covered in poo. He was looking forward to enacting revenge upon the little twerp.

He twirled his sword in his hand and waited for Hamish to take his stance. Once the boy was in position, Eoin raised his sword arm. “Ready?”

Hamish nodded.

“Begin!”

The blonde boy shot forward, swinging his sword in a sideways slice aimed at Eoin’s ribs. Eoin ducked and stabbed forward, forcing Hamish to sidestep the blow. Hamish directed an overzealous blow toward Eoin’s back, which Eoin twisted up to block. Hamish jumped back slightly, resting on the balls of his feet as he waited for Eoin’s next move.

The boy’s stance reminded Eoin of how Caerwyn stood when she was fighting. Easy to knock over, sure, but light enough on her feet that you would never have the opportunity. The girl was a natural with a sword, and so graceful…

Distractedly, Eoin jabbed at Hamish. Hamish easily blocked him and advanced, fiercely. Eoin was thrown and staggered backward. He yanked his attention from the brown-haired girl who constantly occupied his thoughts and focused back on the fight. Just in time, he noticed a hole in Hamish’s defense and stabbed at it. Hamish anticipated Eoin’s move and brought down the hilt of his sword on Eoin’s shoulder (head shots were against the rules). Cursing, Eoin charged the boy, hoping to knock him off balance.

No such luck – Hamish dug his heels in at exactly the right moment, and Eoin couldn’t budge him. Eoin’s shoulder throbbed and he swore to himself that if he lost this fight, he would have to hide spiders in Hamish’s bed for the next week.

Thankfully, Hamish made a mistake. He lifted his sword above his head in order to swing downward at Eoin, leaving his stomach exposed. Eoin jabbed him, harder than necessary. He had won, but only barely.

A shout of anguish went up from the rest of the boys. “C’mon, Hamish!”

“Like you could do better,” he shot back. He let his arms fall, sword tip bouncing against the ground. He raised an eyebrow at Eoin. “That was sloppy. Got your head in the clouds again?”

“I’ll tell what’s sloppy and what’s not, thanks,” Eoin snapped. “Lest you forget, I just smeared your sorry behind all over this field.”

Hamish stuck out his tongue and joined the other boys on the fence, hoisting himself up on the rails. “Barely.”

Eoin smacked him over the head with the flat side of his sword. “Shut your face, Hamish.”

Angus grinned, wickedly. “I know what it was,” he said, crossing his arms and fixing his gaze on Eoin. “He was thinking about Lady Caerwyn.”

Eoin found himself blushing against his will. “Don’t be stupid. I wasn’t thinking about anyone, I was just distracted by Hamish’s fat head.”

The other boys had a laugh at Hamish’s expense, but quickly turned the brunt of their teasing back to Eoin. “So you were thinking about her!” Malcolm cried, accusingly. “Don’t lie.”

“I’m not – ” Eoin started, but Callum interrupted him.

“Worried, lover boy?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “She’s getting her Assignment this morning, you know.”

Eoin shook the thought of Caerwyn from his head. “I’m not worried,” he said (a lie, and a blatant one at that). “Lady Caerwyn is a competent initiate who can take care of herself. She’ll be fine.”

Before I go: I want to do a blog post maybe this weekend or next week in which I answer a bunch of questions from you guys, so if you have anything you want to ask me or just want my opinion on or whatever, leave them in comments! And if you’ve been hanging around reading and not commenting, please do leave a comment – it doesn’t have to be long, but reading them really does make my day, I really appreciate them. 🙂

I leave you with this. You’re welcome. (If you listen to the whole thing, you win serious points. I think this is hilarious, but it gets really annoying, really fast.)

Hahaha. Have fun with that stuck in your head for the rest of your life. 😀

Love you, too!

~Hero