Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog birthday bash

Right now I'm posting a blog on a happy subject, rather than about someone's who's just died!

Carrie, over at [carrotspeak.], is having a blog birthday bash on the 16th.

Rather than typing all the details out, I think I'll copy and paste the info from her post talking about it. I don't think she'll mind. :)


We will meet up here on December 16th to celebrate so many things: the birth of new friendships, the blogging outlet for self-expression, the invention of birthday cake, and, of course, some free and easy publicity for all of you fantastic readers.

I'll upload my own party post, and you guys get to play along by creating yours. What will you wear? This is, after all, a black-tie event. We must all be looking fab. Who will you bring as a date? How will you arrive? (Floo power? Limo? Hot air balloon?) Who will you mingle with; do you have any friends coming? Will you experience celebrity sightings? Oh the possibilities...

Anyhoo, please RSVP to me before the party day via email with your name and the link to your blog and I'll add you to the guest list in the right sidebar so that you partiers can get to know each other. :) Then on December 16th you'll upload your party posts, and we'll all jump around the guest list to say "How do you do?" (See? Easy publicity.) The guest list will remain in my sidebar for a week after the party date, just to be sure you all have enough time to visit each other.

If you'd like to participate, please steal the invitation below and spread the word, and on the party day please don't forget to link back to my blog in your post so that all of your readers can come as well. EVERYONE is invited. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Why did he die?"

I'm keeping this short, because I do need to get to bed soon...

There's something that was asked several times today, throughout the course of Joe's funeral and the reception: "Why did he die?" I have to admit, I was surprised to hear that question, and it reminded me that there are many different views of death.

Those asking the question were Christian, and they believe in one all mighty all loving god. Naturally, it seems strange that an all mighty all loving god could allow someone to die when they still have so much left to do.

I, on the other hand, believe in many many deities, not all of whom are really interested in us humans. Yes, there are some who love anyone and everyone and want to help us (Jesus and Brighid, for example), but there are also tricksters who like to stir up trouble (for example, Loki). And as wonderful and amazing as Jesus and Brighid (and others like them) are, they aren't all powerful, which means that tricksters sometimes get their way.

I'm sitting here with so many thoughts going through my head. I could keep going, but I really should get to bed. It's probably a safe bet that you'll see more on this topic from me.

The funeral

As I posted earlier this week, Joe Hewitt died. His funeral was today. There's so much to share, but I think I'll limit it to a few things right now. I'll start with a childhood story.

Joe's brother played drums when he was little. He and Joe used to fight a lot when they were young, and one day Joe broke the brother's drum over his head. Years later when Joe had become quite the drummer his brother asked what first got him into it. Joe replied "Well, I liked how it felt when I broke your drum over your head." lol The brother still doesn't seem quite sure what to make of that.

Next, the piping. A lone piper played a lament during the service, and Portland Metro Pipe Band played as well. Not only that, but the song they played was the one they'd written for him. (Someone had to tell me that later, though, because I didn't realize it at the time.) There were quite a few emotional moments during the funeral, but that was one of the things that had me really really crying -- Joe was one of the founders of Portland Metro Pipe Band. I suspect that Joe was marching with them today, even though his body was in the casket.

Some members of Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band played with the adult band before the funeral, while people were arriving. Joe also had a hand in starting the youth band, and it seems only fitting to me that those who felt up to it were playing the adult band ahead of time.

And the last thing I'd like to share right now...

After the service, before we went to the reception, the woman who had been sitting next to me asked "Are you Wiccan?" At first I was surprised, but I guess I shouldn't have been. She's someone I sort of know, and I'm sure she's seen my pentacle pendant before. And even if she hadn't noticed the pendent before now she probably noticed the pentacle ring that I'm wearing today because I was flipping through the Bible as certain verses were mentioned (I prefer to read and hear it, rather than just hearing it), which of course would draw attention to my hands.

I told her "No I'm not Wiccan, but I am Pagan." She asked, "So, what do you Pagans believe?" That's a tough one for me! I always wonder if I should tell people what Pagans in general believe (which is difficult since there are so many Pagan religions out there!), or if I should reply with just what I personally believe, which might lead her to believe that all Pagans believe what I believe.

Ah, the joys of being part of a minority!

I wound up telling her, "Well, many different Pagans believe many different things. I'm polytheistic. I do believe in Jesus, and he's someone that I turn to, but he's not the only one I pray to." She replied "Ok, so you weren't totally traumatized by this service?" "No," I told her, "I wasn't." Hey, I do love Jesus! Yeah, I won't say the lines in the psalm that would declare him to be my shepherd, or some other things like that, but I have no problem with being at a service where virtually everyone else is saying those prayers.

Next she asked, "Then, do you believe in heaven?" I told her "I believe in a heaven-like place." "So you do believe in heaven." It was still sort of a question. "Well," I said, "I believe there are options, and that what happens depends on the individual. A person might go to other underworlds [I can't remember if that's the word I used, though...] or be reincarnated. Really, I think it depends."

A question for my Pagan followers: how do you reply when people ask you what Pagans believe? And where do you believe people go when they die?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Listening to music

"Music is closely related to the experience of being human. The ancient
Greeks and Romans thought that music was a component of physical
and mental harmony. The Egyptian physicians used music as a treatment
for patients (Cook, 1981). In ancient China, Confucius not only loved
music but ascribed to it social virtues. He believed that ritual and music
were the keys to harmonious living and included music as one of the
six skills that everyone should study in order to cultivate themselves
(Cook, 1981)."

The above is part of the opening paragraph of a study I wrote about for school. And just to make sure that I don't get in trouble for plagiarism, I'll even cite the study in APA format at the bottom of this post!

As you might guess from the fact that I'm sharing it here, this is a passage that caught my attention. Especially the first sentence, which I was delighted to read because I don't think I had ever heard that thought put into words before.

Because it says "Music is closely related to the experience of being human", perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that when I think of this quote I also think of a YouTube video of a musician who is deaf.

Had you ever heard of a deaf musician? I hadn't. I was amazed. And, by the way, I think I have a new hero. Her name is Evelyn Glennie :)

How can she possible hear music, if she's deaf? Well, she does feel like she hears music with her ears, like everyone else. But, she also hears music with her entire body. I think everyone has experienced the sensation of feeling a deep base note in their chest. My understanding is that she simply takes this further, and has learned to recognize sound vibrations of a variety of pitches with her entire body.

I'm inspired, and am trying to listen to music in new ways, because of seeing the video of her.

I'd encourage everyone to watch it, but it's a half hour long so I don't know if you want to take the time. But if you feel like it, great! :)

Source Cited

Lai, Y. (1999). Effects of music listening on depressed women in Taiwan. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 20(3), 229-246. doi:10.1080/016128499248637.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy "let's steal the land from the natives" day!

Actually, addressing that aspect of Thanksgiving would be an entire post all by itself, which I don't feel like doing at the moment, but I would like to share Thanksgiving: A Native American View which is one Native American's take on Thanksgiving.

Today I made the main dish for dinner. Of course it wasn't turkey, since I'm vegetarian. So what was it? Lasagna. Unfortunately, because I'm used to making it in a bigger pan, I misjudged what I was doing and used too much sauce. But it was still yummy, and was perhaps the best lasagna I've ever made. Hmm, so perhaps it wasn't too much sauce after all...

And yes, I took photos of the food. lol I picked up my camera for one thing, but when I get a camera in my hands I go slightly nutsy, and take photos like crazy. With that in mind, I think I took relatively few photos today.

Mom also got out some wine for dinner, which is very unusual in my family. I considered asking for a bit of it, but changed my mind when I remembered that I cannot stand its taste.

A couple days ago I bought some tofurkey, special for this meal. I've been vegetarian for several years, but I only tried tofurkey recently, and discovered that I liked it. I actually discovered it because I was at school trying to find something to eat, and they sell this stuff in the bookstore. It is so yummy. And not only is it vegetarian, it's even vegan! How cool is that?

Ok, I'll stop going on and on about the tofurkey... :)

Mom fixed green beans, and we also had bread to go with the lasagna. Dad opted to have a TV dinner type meal that had the traditional Thanksgiving food stuff in it.

We made a discovery during dinner: dad's cat, Saphira, likes wine. The fact that we only made this discovery today shows just how little my parents drink alcohol. And of course, I grabbed my camera when we found out that she likes it!

We didn't let her drink much, and only let her lick to her heart's content once dad had emptied his cup.

Yes, by the way, she does get on the table to eat with us. She's a companion animal to my dad, and so she has gets to do things that the other two cats in our house can't get away with.

I've got to add -- my mom was just looking over my shoulder, and when she saw the photograph of Saphira she said something about PETA coming after us about it. lol

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! :D


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll write something about the day later, but I just wanted to share this song for now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Joe Hewitt

Yes, two posts in one day, again.

A few hours ago I found out that Joe Hewitt died this morning. He's someone you probably haven't heard of, but he's well known in the piping community. In fact, when he was in hospice the employees there were shocked at how much attention he was getting from pipers and drummers all over the world.

He was a drummer, and an excellent teacher. I'm told that he has, at one time or another, coached all the excellent drummers (who are in the piping community, anyways) here in the Northwest. People knew that he could help them become better drummers, and he was happy to teach.

And to give you an idea of exactly what kind of person he was...

About a year ago the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band was formed, and Joe was in charge of the drum section. There was a slight financial problem, which resulted in everyone running around trying to figure out how to come up with the money to buy drums. What did Joe do? He bought the drums himself, and told the band to pay him back whenever they could get the funds together.

I don't remember exactly when, but he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the past year or so. After a while he stopped doing much in the piping community so that he could spend time with his family. His condition worsened, and he wound up in hospice.

I don't know if I ever met him (which sounds weird, but I'm bad with names so it took me a while to learn and recognize his) but my mom and brother did. In fact, Tall One's piping instructor was one of Joe's friends.

Everyone knew that Joe was dying. There had already been talk about how to do his memorial service, and who would be piping at it. Someone has already written a pipe song dedicated to him, which usually only happens after someone is dead. Regardless, it was a bit surprising to hear that he'd died.

At least he's no longer suffering, and I hope he's happy, wherever he is. And, he will definitely be remembered.

Job hunting

Here's an update on my job-less situation!

Today when I wandered into the financial aid office at school I discovered that there were three new jobs posted. I applied to all of them. Hopefully I'll have a job soon!

Also, I am cat-sitting for someone who's going out of town for Thanksgiving. I cat-sit for this particular guy last year during the Christmas holidays, so this will be the second time I've looked after this particular cat. It's not much money, but it's something!

Hopefully I won't be penniless much longer! :)

Hey, I just noticed, I'm using a lot of !'s. I guess I'm just happy that I might get employment soon. Getting some money will be nice.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Hairy legs are gross on women"

My college choir is performing this weekend. Before dress rehearsal today we were joking about making guys wear dresses (you know, just being silly college kids who are trying to find some humor as the stress of finals approach), and someone asked if they should also have to shave their legs.

I don't even remember how the topic switched over to women shaving their legs. But, sure enough, one of my classmates commented "Hairy legs are gross on women."

I have hairy legs. It's not because I'm trying to make a statement, and in truth I do think they look nicer when they're shaved. But some time ago I got sick and tired of shaving them, and that was that. I expect I'll start shaving them again someday, but not anytime in the near future.

So when this classmate said that hairy legs are gross on women, I jut had to say "Hey, I don't shave. Are my legs gross?" I wanted to see if she'd say it to my face. And, sure enough, she did. (Though I noticed that she didn't look at me as she said it.) She added that "hairy legs aren't so bad if you aren't wearing a skirt."

Maybe I'll wear a skirt next week. What do you think?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vegetarians and animal crackers

While I was volunteering at the library this morning I came across a Chicken Soup for the Soul CD (I hadn't known I could find them in the music CD section!) and I started pondering a couple of questions.

Are vegetarians allowed to read Chicken Soup for the Soul?

Also, are vegetarians allowed to eat animal crackers?

lol I say both to yes to both of those questions. But I know that once at the library a librarian was handing out animal crackers, and one little kid refused because s/he was vegetarian!

Oh yes, and there's a third question -- are vegetarians allowed to eat a cake that's made to look like a turkey?

A store near our house was selling cakes like that last Thanksgiving, and I'm hoping to get one again this year. They were cute, and delicious! Unfortunately those cakes weren't a big hit, so I'm not sure if we'll be able to find one this time. :( Ah well. We'll see!


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Mom told the rest of the family over dinner this evening, "Sarita proved that she wasn't raised Catholic." At first I was clueless. Then she told me: I told a nun that she was wrong today. Apparently that's a big no-no for anyone raised Catholic.

Today I went to a recital at Marylhurst university, and mom was with me. Remember, it's a Catholic school, and was founded by nuns. There don't seem to be many nuns there any more, but there are still a few, and one was in charge of the recital today.

We were talking before the recital, and the nun referenced some music that she considered to basically be trash. What was the music? Rap.

I'm no fan of rap. I've only heard one rap song that I could enjoy, and everything else I was like "Oh my gosh I really can't wait for the song to be over..." Nothing against it, it's just something that really is not my style.

But when the nun totally dismissed rap as basically garbage, I had to speak up. "Actually, I'm doing a report on a study that was done on rap music. Yes, it does have negative sides, but it can also be really good. It's something that some people relate to, and they listen to it as a way to relax and calm down."

Of course there's more to the study, but that's all I said to her.

I suspect I could happily go my entire life without hearing rap again (though I admit to being curious enough after reading the study that I just might look up some songs on YouTube), but I couldn't stand by and say nothing when I heard it being casually dismissed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lactose intolerant?

When I was little I would start of my mornings by watching Gummy Bears while drinking instant breakfast. For those who don't know, instant breakfast is a yummy yummy and healthy way to start off your day. It is a powder that has all kinds of nutrients and vitamins, and you put it in milk that has lots of protein. Really good.

I eventually stopped watching Gummy Bears but I continued drinking instant breakfast. And even if I didn't have the instant breakfast, I still had a cup of milk sometime or other during my day. That was just how it was.

Now, after years and years of drinking milk and being used to starting off my day with a cup of it, guess what? I feel sick if I drink it.

I am not pleased.

FYI -- this rant was induced today because I tried drinking a cup of milk this morning. Yeah, I know it wasn't smart of me, but I somehow thought that it would be ok. But guess what? It wasn't ok.

I was complaining about it to my mom (who isn't at work today because she's sick) about it and asked "What is this called? Lactose intolerant?" She replied "No, it's not lactose intolerant. It is spelled s-t-u-p-i-d." I guess she sort of has a point. I ought to have known better than to drink a cup of milk this morning. She did also point out that my body might simply be responding this way to milk due to stress, and that I might not actually be lactose intolerant.

So am I lactose intolerant? I don't know. All I know is that I can't drink a cup of milk anymore, and that I am not happy about it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When I was young I used to draw all the time. For some reason I stopped, and I haven't really drawn much since then. Usually if I thought about it I would think "You know, I can't really draw. Why bother?"

I guess that's sort of the same as people saying "I can't sing," which is something that really drives me nuts. Anyone can sing! Absolutely anyone! If someone thinks they can't sing, it's just because they aren't familiar with their voice, and/or they're trying to sing outside of their range.

So I guess I was sort of a hypocrite. On one hand I said everyone can sing, on the other hand I said I couldn't draw. *rolls eyes*

I started drawing the other day, and I wanted to share some of what I've done here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas before Thanksgiving?

This morning I was walking home, and my path happened to take me right by a store. I couldn't help but notice -- they had gotten a delivery of trees. Um, isn't it a little early?

Ok, yes, this is coming from the girl who's already singing Christmas songs. But that's different! Songs are something that you have to work on ahead of time so that they're ready when the big day comes. And since I'm singing them and I'm already in the mind frame of Christmas music, why not put on a CD of the songs while I'm at it?

And I can understand selling Christmas stuff at craft stores. Crafts are something else that you have to work on ahead of time if you're going to have them prepared in time, just like songs.

So while I can go along with the Christmas music and the Christmas stuff in craft stores before Thanksgiving, the trees seem a tad early to me.

But, I guess each to their own. I'm sure there are some who think I'm nutsy for singing Christmas songs this early.

ps. I just added "nutsy" to the words that my spell checker shouldn't complain about. It's my new word! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Different ways of thinking's been a long day...

But first, there's something I want to ask. How many steps are there in vacuuming your house? Yeah, I guess it's a weird question, but please bear with me.

Mom and I were having a discussion this evening, and to my surprise she asked me what the steps are in vacuuming the house. This is what I said:

1) Get out the vacuum cleaner.

2) Plug it in.

3) Vacuum the living room.

4) Vacuum the hall.

5) Vacuum Tall One's room.

6) Vacuum my room.

7) Vacuum my parent's room.

8) Maybe vacuum my parent's bathroom (for some strange reason it is carpeted).

9) Unplug vacuum cleaner.

10) Wind up power cord.

11) Put vacuum cleaner back up.

These are all the steps I gave her. And I definitely listed off eleven when we were talking -- she counted them! In reply, my mom said that these are the steps she follows:

1) Get out vacuum cleaner.

2) Push it around the house.

3) Put vacuum cleaner back up.

...why can't things be that simple for me? For her it's three easy simple steps. For me it's eleven steps. We might take the same amount of time, but...there's quite a difference.

It seems like I'm making things more difficult for myself. And yet, this is just the way my brain is programed. Maybe it's my ADHD?

So tell me, how many steps do you take when vacuuming?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Top ten books -- post 2

This is three posts in one day. I am getting a little nutsy, I guess. lol (Yes, nutsy is my new word.) So here are the rest of my top ten books.

Ok, so it's my top eleven favorite books. Whatever. lol Hey, I think I said in my last post about books that it's tough for me to choose! :)

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
Historical fiction

Someone said that this is what the Bible might be like if women wrote it, and I think they had a good point. This book is also an excellent window into what the world was like in the times of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Yes, I am a fan of that musical. :)

The Old Man and The Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

This reads like a great legend, or a great poem. When I picked it up I was quite irritated at interruptions such as dinner. I really should pick it up again when I can read it cover to cover without interruption...

The Kommadant's Girl
by Pam Jenoff
Historical fiction (and maybe romance?)

What to say? It's a fantastic book about the holocaust and love. :)

by Christopher Paolini

The author was homeschooled, which is something that drew me to his first book because my brother and I were also homeschooled. Paolini graduated 12th grade when he was 17 because he didn't take any summer breaks. (Some of us homeschoolers can be a little nutsy like that. lol) Unsure of what to do with himself, he started writing a book, Eragon. With the help of his family he self published that book, and somehow it came to the attention of an editor who liked it.

This is the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, and I so cannot wait for the next and last book to come out! :)

The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. le Guin
Fantasy/Science Fiction

There is a bit of sexism in this book which I find annoying, and yet it is an absolutely amazing book that really draws the reader in, to the point where you don't really care about the sexism. Read it! :)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K.Rowling

Need I say anything about this book? :)

You know, I think that another name that would really fit this book would be Harry Potter and the Very Long Camping Trip.


Mrs. B. is doing a really cool givaway that I'd like to win. She's giving away a really cool cross stitch that's a Pagan design, and as usual people get extra entries if they blog about it. So, here I am!

If you want to take a look at it, you can see exactly what it is that I'm drooling over here.

A professor who had an impact on me

As I said in a recent post, it was an English professor who opened up my eyes to music therapy. What I didn't mention is that when I was taking a winter class from him, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. In fact, if you take a look at the posts with the label English you can see how it progresses, starting from where he comes into class and writes "professor has no voice" on the board due to laryngitis, to the class having a substitute professor, to the substitute becoming permanent, and finally his diagnosis.

About a week ago I e-mailed this professor to let him know that, thanks to him, I am now in the music therapy program at Marylhurst. I wasn't sure if he would remember me, but he did. :) In the e-mail I also mentioned that I hoped he was doing better than he was last winter term, and was not happy with the update I had on his condition.

He had returned to teaching in the summer term, which was good, and what was expected. What isn't good is that he had a relapse and had to stop teaching again just a few weeks into this term. When I heard back from him, he said that he had just come out of spending four days at a hospital for chemo therapy.

I'm sure this can go into remission, and hopefully stay in remission this time. I told him I'd pray for him. I am asking Taliesin, who as a bard I would expect to have an interest in this professor who teaches English, and Brighid, a healer, to look after him.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Top ten books -- post 1

I found out from Moonrat, over at Editorial Ass, that Publishers Weekly has announced their top ten novels for this year. And guess what? All of the authors are men.

Moonrat is rather irritated to say the least, and I think with good reason. There are plenty of good women writers out there. Why didn't at least one of them make the list? Moonrat (and others) are thinking this is sexism, and I am inclined to agree with them.

You can take a look at Moonrat's post for more details, but basically there has been a challenge put out for bloggers to declare their own top ten novels of the year. I must say, I rather like this idea. :)

However, there's a slight little problem. I've been busy with schoolwork, and haven't been reading too many newly published books this year. So, rather than naming my favorite top ten of the year, I'll attempt to name my favorite top ten overall. And I say I'll "attempt to" do this because it's rather tough to make up my mind. In fact, if you ask me to make this list again tomorrow, it might be slightly different!

By the way, as I'm making my decisions I'm realizing that I'm having a hard time choosing. There are some authors that I love so much that I'm having a really hard time choosing just one of their books. For this reason, I usually give people my favorite authors rather than my favorite books. I'll limit my list to one book per author, however.

So here's my list top ten books, in no particular order. And because I don't do to well at explaining books, I'll just give you the title, author, genre, and maybe a comment or two about the particular author.

The Burning Island: A Journey Through Myth and History in Volcano Cuntry, Hawai'i
by Pamela Frierson

This book is so good. I mention it in this post.

Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer
Fantasy/Science fiction

I like all of his Artemis Fowl books, at varying degrees. This is the first one.

Cybele's Secrete
by Juliet Marillier
Historical fantasy

OMG this is one of my TOP favorite authors...I am currently reading her latest book, Heart's Blood.

Wild Magic
by Tamora Pierce

Really, I think I love all her stories about Tortall characters equally. It's just that it's her Immortals quartet that I'm reading right now, so this is the one I'm listing.

Yes, I know I said that I'm currently reading Heart's Blood. I'm taking a break from this one to read that one. But I'll get back to this one. :)

by Garth Nix
Fantasy/Science fiction

Ok, it's his Abhorsen trilogy that I really love, of which this is the first.

By the way, I'm currently listening to this one. I really love my audio books. :) They help my brain calm down as I'm going to sleep.

It's getting late, so I'll finish up my list another time. Probably tomorrow. Sometime soon, anyways! :)

A brief post

I was only on the computer for like ten minutes yesterday because I wasn't home much. And today I've been really distracted by a new book, Heart's Blood. So I don't really want to write much of a post (and I haven't read any blogs today -- I'll read them soon though!) but I do want to share this:

Is that cool or what? :)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to get back to. It's the latest book out by one of my favorite authors, Juliet Marillier. If you're so inclined, you can read an excerpt here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


As I mentioned before, I have a blind classmate. I've never been around a blind person before, so this has been a real learning experience for me. I'd like to share some of the things I've learned, which I am fairly certain apply to all blind people and not just to my new friend.

~ Big open spaces can be bad for them, because they lose their bearing. They need some reference -- even just a curb that they can find -- to know where they are. And it's best if they don't have to walk through open space to find that reference place.

~ If a blind person is lost, go rescue them. This is something my blind classmate has really emphasized when we're talking about blindness. Also, some blind people panic get even a foot away from their path.

~ Blind people have to learn to face people they talk to. So if you're talking to a blind person but they aren't facing you, don't take it personally. Sometimes they'll even face completely away from you. I'm not sure how many blind people do this (my classmate doesn't) but apparently enough do that it's worth mentioning.

~ If you're leading a blind person somewhere, tell them if you're coming up on stairs or anything else like that. They really need to know that kind of thing.

I'll probably share more tidbits here and there. It seems to me that knowing basic things like these about blindness is good, even if you don't see blind people on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

I wish I knew how to thank our veterans. But I don't. Saying a big thank you doesn't seem adequate, but it's all I can think of, so,

Thank you veterans!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"The Devil and the Farmer's Wife"

I've just come across an interesting contrast between two versions of the same song, and I wanted to share them here.

This is the version I am most familiar with:

And, judging from YouTube, this seems to be the more traditional version:

What do you think? I like both versions.

Tooth Faery

My wisdom teeth started growing in this spring. I was not pleased.

In fact, I was rather surprised. I'd thought I already had my wisdom teeth, but it turns out that I was mistaking my back molars for wisdom teeth. (I can be amazingly clueless at times.)

So now I have one that's broken through, a second one that seems to be coming in, and I have no idea what the other two are doing. I have a dentist appointment in January, and I'll find out then if I don't figure it out for myself before then.

I'm really hoping they don't have to be pulled. For one thing, I have TMD. TMD is a problem with the jaw joints which can painful, and having to keep my mouth open wide for extended periods of time (like when I'm at the dentist's) can be a problem. It hasn't been much of a problem recently, but I don't want to aggravate it.

Another reason that I don't want them to be pulled is that, well, it looks painful! Tall One had his pulled last winter, and it did not look at all pleasant, even with mom and me waiting on him hand and foot for a few days.

But I want to know: if they do get pulled, will the Tooth Faery visit me? After all, I adamantly tell my parents that I still believe in Santa, and I still get presents from Santa every Christmas. Shouldn't the Tooth Faery be the same way?

And that brings me to another (sort of related) question. What did the Tooth Faery give you when you were young? My brother and I always got little presents from the Tooth Faery, but that doesn't seem to be the case with everyone.

(Note to self: make sure mom reads this post ;) )

Monday, November 9, 2009


Have you ever been laughing, and then was suddenly like "Wait, why am I laughing again?" Then you laugh some more because you don't even remember why you're laughing. Then you remember why you were laughing in the first place, and laugh some more.

lol I can't even remember now what set me off, but this happened to me earlier this evening when I was making hot chocolate with my friend. I think it was because I accidentally put too much vanilla extract in my cup.

What was the last thing you laughed about? If you remember what it was, that is. ;)

Music journal :)

November 8th, 2009

What: The entire CD of The Best of Simon and Garfunkel


Partially because I felt like it, partially to help me focus on schoolwork.

It helped me focus, and I liked it.

What: Some heavy metal

Mid afternoon

One of my classmates wants to use heavy metal in our mock music therapy session, and I wanted to find out exactly what I'd gotten myself into when I agreed.

I don't know. It was intense music.

What: Some random stuff on YouTube, most of which was Peter Paul and Mary


I felt like it

I enjoyed it

What: The CD Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water


Because I felt like it, and I have only ever heard their CD The Best of Simon and Garfunkel and wanted to hear something else of theirs.

I am so used to only hearing them sing the songs on The Best of Simon and Garfunkel that it felt a little strange to hear them singing some different songs.

What: Some Peter Paul and Mary songs


I felt like it


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Group project

I mentioned early in the term that I'll be doing a group project, and one of my followers said they'd love to hear more about it.

My group -- which is three people, including myself -- will be doing a presentation on neurology stuff. This means we'll be talking about strokes, head trauma, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases (the text book groups those two together), and multiple sclerosis. Fun stuff. Well, fun to learn about, anyways. I don't think that having any of those conditions would be any fun at all.

In addition to our presentation we'll be doing a mock music therapy session. This means we get to decide what kind of patient we want to work with, what the individual's difficulties are, get a volunteer from the class to play the part, and then do the mock music therapy session in front of the entire class.

The most fun part of this, I think, is making up the patient. I'm writing a brief paper about the patient but of course, the other group members get to have input. The result is a quite interesting individual that I'm writing about.

This individual is a rock star, is into heavy metal, and had a stroke onstage in front of his fans. He also does drugs and is depressed. After the stroke, he:

~ Has trouble walking
~ Has trouble moving the right side of his body
~ Has a visual impairment (Oh no! I forgot to put that in the paper! I need to fix that and re-send it to the others in my group for them to look at...)
~ Dysarthria -- meaning he has trouble speaking, and the cause is that he has trouble physically moving his mouth/tongue/etc. as he needs to
~ Depression and anger

So, this is quite an interesting individual to write about. Also quite interesting is that I found myself using words in the paper that my spell checker doesn't like: dysarthria and hemiplegia.

Oh yes, and guess what? We'll be using heavy metal in our mock therapy session. I've had nothing to do with that kind of music, so when my classmate said he wanted to use it I said "Ok, fine. But that means you pick out the music we use."

Music journal!

*gasp* I didn't listen to Christmas music yesterday! Can you believe it?

November 7th, 2009

What: My brother playing the harmonica

In the morning, just before I got out of bed

Because he felt like playing it

It took me by surprise because he only recently picked up this instrument, and I'm still getting used to hearing him play it. I liked hearing it, and it was something to listen to as I woke up.

What: The entire CD of The Best of Peter Paul and Mary

Early afternoon

I felt like it

I enjoyed it, and wound up writing a blog post about "Puff the Magic Dragon":

What: "Puff the Magic Dragon" -- A live recording on YouTube of Peter Paul and Mary singing the song. I listened to it several times.

Early afternoon

Because I wanted to write about the song on my blog, and it only made sense for me to post a recording of the song I was writing about.

I found a different version than was on the CD, and was delighted with what I found. It also reminded me of the fact that recordings of live performances can be rather different than recordings made in a studio.

What: A few Barbershop songs, and one four part harmony a cappella song which may or may not have been Barbershop

Late afternoon

A facebook friend shared them

Puzzlement over whether or not one of the songs is actually Barbershop

What: The entire CD of The Best of Simon and Garfunkel twice in a row


Because I felt like it

I quite enjoyed it. It also reminded me of a fellow student who had wanted to listen to this CD in her car but had to borrow a car without a CD player, and so couldn't.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The draft

When I turned 18, I didn't have to register for the draft. I didn't even know that people still registered for the draft.

Then Tall One turned 18 this year. Apparently Uncle Sam hunted him down (I think Tall One got a letter, though he didn't clarify how he was "hunted down") to get him to register.

First of all, we don't do the draft these days, and don't have plans to reinstate it, so why do people have to register?

Second of all, how come Tall One had to register but not me? Because I'm a girl! That's sexism that doesn't belong in this century, if you ask me.

Thirdly, Tall One was diagnosed ADD, and last time I checked the military doesn't accept people who are ADHD/ADD. So, why the heck did Tall One have to register???

I don't like the idea of drafting people into the military anyways, and these points just add to my irritation on the issue.

I love my country, but that doesn't mean I like everything that my government does.

Puff the Magic Dragon

It's Peter Paul and Mary in this video. I love them. If you've been reading my music journals you may remember that I listened to one of their CDs recently, which had the effect of reminding me of old favorites. This is one of those old favorites. Though perhaps I shouldn't be using the term "old favorites" when I'm only 20 years old! LOL

When I did a search for it on YouTube I was simply looking for one that had them singing it like on the CD. I was quite surprised to find this recording of it, and immediately fell in love with it. I was surprised to find them end it by singing in present tense -- that's not how it is on their CD, and I don't remember anyone other than myself sing any part of it in present tense before!

I loved this song from the very first time I heard it, even though it took a while for me to understand the meaning behind the song. And no, I'm not saying that it's really a song about drugs! lol I never thought that.

It's a coming of age story. Puff represents childhood and innocence. Of course, as Jackie grows up he moves into the adult world, and leaves that behind. The song sounds sad, but that's life.

There's another verse that Peter Paul and Mary don't sing, but which I do. I don't know when this final verse was added on, but I am fairly certain that it was not part of the original lyrics.

One fine day it happened:
Puff woke from a dream,
he thought he heard a familiar voice
and Jackie's laugh it seemed.

He looked around his cavern
and over by the door,
he saw a little boy with a smile
that he'd seen before.

"Hello my name is Billy
my dad told me your name.
He said I'd find you in the cave
along the cherry lane."

So Puff that mighty dragon
he smiled in his joy.
A childhood friend was here again
For this was Jackie's boy!

Ok, so that looks like more than one verse when it's written out like that, but oh well. lol (I'm laughing a lot today, aren't I?)

I like this ending better not because it ends on a happier tone (though that's certainly a plus), but because it brings the story full circle. It also changes the song, though -- rather than being a coming of age song, it's a circle of life song.

On the other hand, singing the very last chorus in present tense, as Peter Paul and Mary did in the recording, has a similar effect. And yes, I said that I've sung it in present tense before, but I sang the whole song -- not just the last chorus -- in present tense, which is a different matter entirely.

What do you think? Do you like it better as a coming of age or as a circle of life song? Or do you like them both equally? And what do you think of past tense vs. past tense?

More on the music journal

You know, there's something I've come to realize thanks to keeping a music journal. There some days that I don't listen to much music. Then there are other days, that I do.

And you know what? It's really cool having a brother who plays the highland pipes. :)

November 6th, 2009

What: Singing, rattles, and drumming

About a half hour in the afternoon


It was a very spiritual experience

What: Live highland bagpipe

About an hour in the evening

My brother was practicing in his room

I was very happy to be living with a bagpiper. I also was very happy that unlike with the piano he is unable to use headphones when he practices, guaranteeing that I can always hear the pipes if I'm home when he is practicing.

What: Random things on YouTube

About 15 minutes, late evening

Because I felt like it

I was bored with some of the songs and didn't finish listening to them. Others I enjoyed, and made me happy.

What: A few Christmas songs

Late evening

I felt like it

It made me happy

What: A few more semi-random things on YouTube

Even later in the evening

I felt like it


Friday, November 6, 2009

Music Journal

I have barely been on the computer today and yesterday, and haven't even read the blogs I follow yet today. I don't feel like saying much, so I'll share my music journal and leave it at that.

I would just like to comment -- my choir at school is singing Christmas songs, so I'm already in the frame of mind "Let's sing Christmas songs!!!" Oh, and one of our songs is actually a Hanukkah song, which I am in love with. But it's not quite that season yet, so I'll restrain myself from sharing the songs! lol

And if you're thinking "A Pagan, into Christmas music? What's up with that?" I'll try to explain that briefly. I was raised on Christmas music, and even though I disagree with some of the theology behind many of the songs, I do absolutely love Jesus. And even though many of the songs I wouldn't be willing to perform as a solo piece (because of disagreement over theology), I have no problem performing them with a choir.

Maybe that's not much of an explanation. It says some, but leaves out things such as the why behind why I'm happy to sing songs whose theology I disagree with in a choir but not as a solo piece. But that's for another post, if anyone is interested. And if no one expresses interest I just might post about it anyways.

Now, on to what I've been listening to the last couple of days!

November 4th, 2009

What: Three Christmas songs


Because I felt like it

It made me happy

November 5th, 2009

What: Students practicing piano

Briefly in the early morning

I was practicing piano, and someone else was practicing in the next room over

I was happy to be a music major

What: Students practicing piano, vocal, and violin

About an hour in the afternoon

I was talking with other students, and we happened to be right where we could hear people practicing

I didn't pay much attention to it, but I liked it

What: The entire CD of The Best of Peter Paul and Mary

Late afternoon/early evening

Because I felt like it

It made me happy, and because I haven't listened to the CD in a while it reminded me of old favorites

What: A couple Christmas songs


Because I felt like it

It energized me and made me happy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Music Journal

November 3rd, 2009

What: Alternating flute and piano music

Early morning

I was in a piano room, and someone else was practicing in the next room over

It made me delight in the fact that I am a music major

What: Fellow students playing piano

Early morning

I was in piano class

More joy at being a music major

What: Men singing

About ten minutes in the afternoon

In choir there is a song that only the men sing, which meant that I (and the other women) wound up just sitting and listening for that part of rehearsal.

I was having trouble understanding the words, so I was slightly frustrated.

What: Other students practicing piano, voice, and maybe other instruments.

For about an hour in the afternoon

I was talking to another student, and we happened to be in a place where we could hear fellow students practicing.

I liked hearing the music, even though I was not focusing on it.

What music have you been listening to lately?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Music journal

I'm sharing day two of my music journal. For those of you who are new here this is a school assignment that I think is neat and decided to share.

But first, guess what happened this morning? I was going to school, and noticed that the sun was coming up an hour early. After a few minutes of puzzling over it I remembered -- daylight savings! *rolls eyes* I can be so clueless at times.

January 2nd 2009

What: My brother playing his practice chanter (a practice chanter is used by bagpipers who want to practice fingering and stuff without having to deal with the bag part of the bagpipe)

Afternoon, on and off for a couple hours

Because he needed to practice

It made me happy

What: My brother playing his practice chanter

Early evening, for about a half hour or forty five minutes

Because he felt like playing some more

It made me feel happy, and reminded me that I still needed to practice piano

What: A YouTube playlist I made that is designed to help me focus on schoolwork -- after this it will be called YouTube Playlist "Soothing for homework"

Evening, about twenty minutes

From the mood I was in I suspected that my I would have trouble focusing on schoolwork unless I did something to help my focus

I was able to focus quite well on schoolwork

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saving kittens

Today I was walking to the library with a friend of mine when I happened to notice a kitten on a leash. I'm a cat person so of course I was interested -- and anyways it's not every day you see someone walking their cat -- so I paused to get a better look at the kitten.

I petted the kitten a little when she wandered over to me, and the person on the other end of the leash told my friend and me "We found her and some of her litter mates in a box. She was the only one alive. She's four weeks old, and I took her in to get her shots today."

When I heard the kitten's story I felt a couple of emotions. One of the emotions was sadness. How can people treat animals like that? Would it be so much trouble to just drop them off at an animal shelter? Or what about a pet store? Either one would have been better than just dumping the kittens on the street in a box.

The other emotion I felt was joy that there are people who will look after animals in need. I expect he saved that kitten's life when he took her home.

(By the way, yes, I know that it's not good for cats to play with yarn balls. My family used to have a cat who had to have some removed from his intestines, and it was not a pleasant experience for the cat. But kitties with yarn make nice pictures, so that's why I'm using it.) (Wait a minute, am I actually writing a disclaimer for a picture I'm using...?)

Music Journal

For one of my classes I am keeping a music journal this week. It sounds like a fun idea, and I figured I'd share it! Here's the entry for yesterday:

January 1st, 2009

First CD of The Complete Symphonic Recording Les Miserables


To entertain me as I swept and mopped the floors of: the utility/laundry room, the kitchen, and the dining/family room.

It made me happy (even as I scrubbed the floor) and I sang along in places, which made me even more happy.

What: First part of the second CD of The Complete Symphonic Recording Les Miserables


Two reasons. 1) I was feeling down, and Les Miserables usually makes me feel better. 2) To help me focus on schoolwork.

It made me feel better and energized me, but it slightly distracted me from studying.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fun days

Samhain was good. I had some fun with beads and other crafty stuff, and a friend of mine came over. We just hang out for a little, and then Tall One suggested we play a card game. So he, mom, my friend, and I played hearts. We even played in teams, which was a first for me. My friend and I were on the same team, and won. We even managed to run the deck! That was another first for me. lol I've tried it before, but never managed to pull it off.

When the game ended it was beginning to get late, and really I should have been in bed already, but my friend suggested we tell stories. I didn't particularly care about my curfew (even though I expected I would regret it the following day) so I said sure thing! Not only that, but we had a fire going, so I turned off the lights.

We told stories by the flickering fire light. Not ghost stories, though. Well, actually, we did have one ghost story. I got mom to tell about the time that a ghost kicked her out of a bed once while she was traveling. It's absolutely hilarious. Aside from that we mostly told myths.

Oh yes, and the trick-or-treaters! This is our third Halloween in this house, and the last two we only had one or two groups of kids show up at our door each year, much to my disappiontment. This year, however, we had four or five groups. I was quite happy about that. :)

It was a good day and evening.

This morning I went to my first cat show. I hadn't known what to expect, other than that there would be a bunch of cats.

I absolutely love cats, and so the cat show was pretty much heaven for me. I definitely want to go to more.

There were plenty of cool things there, but I have homework to do so I'll limit my talking to one cool thing, which is that I became acquainted with a new cat breed: the Sphynx.

To the left is a photo of the one I met. I was having trouble getting good photos (probably because I refused to use flash, since I didn't want to startle any cats) but you can see better photos of them here, where there are photos of an adult Sphynx and an unbelievably cute baby Sphynx.

In photos they look strange, but actually meeting one I was able to forget that they look weird. They're like any other cat, full of personality and character! just happens that they don't have fur. Oh, and they feel like velvet when you pet them. :)

The person belonging to the cat told me that they are very affectionate, and that to keep warm they'll sleep under the covers with their person. And not just under the covers -- they'll even crawl into your pajamas! She said that they have to be taught proper bed etiquette so that they don't do things like poke their nose into your armpit and give you a rude awakening in the middle of the night.

It'll be a while before I start looking for another cat, but when I do, I'll definitely keep this breed in mind!