Just a scintilla of spice.

We did a morning matinee of Frog & Toad for a crowd of over 200 elementary school kids today. There were some rough spots, of course; this was a shortened performance, and we’d never run the shortened version before. Nevertheless, it was a great experience. The kids seemed to love the show, and I loved hearing their big laughs! Selfishly, I also loved their fascination with the pit and the mystery of how I got down into it. I think my favorite reaction of the morning, though, was a little girl looking up onto the stage and into the pit, saying, “I want to work here!” Maybe someday, sister.

Second full run tonight, and the band will be back in the picture (they were not part of the morning matinee). I haven’t gotten able to really sit back and enjoy this show because it’s pretty music-heavy and because the band has definitely been an eleventh-hour team (and I include myself in that!). I got to be entertained by Pippin, but this one keeps me on my toes! All the conducting burns calories, though…

On a more personal note, Emily & I talked on the phone today, as we often do, and we were discussing the latest Southern Living. Now remember, Emily & I love food, so keep that in mind when I tell you that we agreed that this month’s issue was boring. Many of the recipes were shrimp-themed (unsavory to Emily and expensive for me! Well, for both of us), and there seemed to be a big focus in this issue on decorating. Emily confessed that she’s got her eye on decorating ideas, thinking towards her next house, but I am just not there. Maybe I’m not there “in this chapter of life,” or maybe I’m just not there in a personality sense. I look around my apartment and see a total lack of… well, I guess “organization” or “coordination.” I mean, stuff is kind of picked up, and there’s a book shelf with books on it and pretty pictures and flowers on the piano and side table. Plus all the bed linens relatively match, and my kitchen is all apples. But that’s where it ends. I feel like I live in a little nest, rather than a showcase. I love cooking and entertaining, but there’s nothing to show off here. Maybe there should be?? Or maybe I’ll have more of a desire to show off once I’m able to get out of rental situations. You know, a sense of ownership.

Speaking of my home, it’s inundated with interesting smells. A curry-like lentil chickpea curry in the crockpot, new supply of AirWick scented oil warmers supplied with vanilla oil, and EcoSmart bedbug killer, which features some aromatic (and non-toxic) essential oils that make this place smell like a LifeSaver dipped in Ben-Gay. I’d say more than a scintilla of spice and… other things.

Yeah, I said “bedbug killer.” I sure did…

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vamp and re-vamp

Well, I first titled this entry “re-vamp,” then remembered that I’ve been using the word “vamp” a lot lately because of A Year with Frog & Toad. Yes, I’ve been music-directing another theatrical production, and it has been quite the experience. Shows always wear me out, and I guess I always think every show is that hardest thing I’ve ever done musically; but this one… takes the cake.

I digress. The original title “re-vamp?” better captures the essence of what I wanted to write about: I’m thinking of re-starting this blogging thing. As usual, I can never fully justify the “Nestea plunge” indulgence required for a steady blogging habit because 1) I don’t think there’s enough interesting in my life to warrant this much energy and attention, and 2) even if there were, I’d feel a little narcissistic expecting people to want to read it.

Yet here I am.

I may change the name of this thing, as “lavender melody,” while pretty-sounding, borders on the juvenile. Or at least I think so. Anyway, I guess that’s a small matter, compared to whether or not I actually get into all this. Perhaps I’ll try the current setup for a little, then take it from there.

Having said all that, here goes some attempt to chronicle my life as an adjunct music professor:

I’ve spent a lot of time in the pit this week. The orchestra pit of Bristol’s Paramount Theater. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the cast, and I’m even enjoying the chance to exercise my baton with the band, now that they’ve joined the show. Nevertheless, these final rehearsals have required a lot of coordination and — quite frankly and literally — blood (yes, blood), sweat (lots of that), and, yes, tears. For the sake of maintaining professionalism, I won’t get into all the nitty gritty details of our challenges, but I will say I’ve learned a lot about myself as a teacher and a musician. I will also say that I think all the aforesaid blood, sweat, and tears will be worth it because of the pure exhilaration of putting a show in front of the audience. It’s magical.

Speaking of, I’ve got to get over there. No time to proofread!

sympathy, empathy

When grief weighs the air down
on you like iron,
and molten lead tears swell and cloud
your eyelashes like a storm…

You try to pray.

And all you can
think of to
say
is,
“Thank God I’m not alone, for once.
But
I still hate… hate…
You? Death?
I hate…               ”

The weightiness of the near-empty
black-painted room
and loss.
Where prayer and hate and search for the Answer
are all the same.

This entry was posted on April 8, 2011. 1 Comment

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9779 days of sweet, beautiful life.

If you believe life starts at conception. And I may not be exact on how many days Mama carried me around there.

Ironically enough, I spent part of yesterday in Pearisburg, Va., burying my great aunt Fay, who died at the age of 92. Fay was a character, and her life was truly something to be celebrated. And thinking about that on the eve of my own 26th birthday kind of helped to serve as a reminder to make my life something worth celebrating.

The darker side of this particular moon came when I was actually driving home from the visitation and burial: I saw a dead kitty on the side of the road. I’m always bothered by dead animals on or near the road; I can’t callous myself to it, and I just can’t seem to shake it. I will say, however, that it’s easier to get over it when the animal is disemboweled or destroyed beyond the point of recognition. Then, it’s just a grotesque thing, more than it is a dead animal. But this kitty… it was on its side, with its paws poised in just the place where a ball or toy mouse might fit in them. Or that it was in mid- “I love you so I’ll roll over on my back to let you pet my tummy” position. I can’t get that picture out of my head. I know it wasn’t like that when it died, necessarily, but the fact that it was dead and that that was what I saw… It’s haunting. And, of course, ironic, given that I was just coming from a funeral.

I have also been thinking about Mama a lot lately. Again. It’s something else I can’t seem to shake. There are countless, countless beautiful memories I have of her, but I can’t get two particularly sad ones out of my head. Well, maybe bittersweet. I have paused those scenes and rewound to them so many times… And I don’t know what I’d do if I actually could go back to them, you know? I can’t cure cancer, and I wouldn’t be able to if I went back in time. But maybe I’d tell my past self, “Don’t ever lose this. Tell her how much you love her right now.”

One of them was when the family was saying good-bye to me in the airport, when I was returning to Edinburgh after my long spring break. It was the last time I saw her happy, healthy, wearing something besides hospital clothes, standing up, walking around, convinced she would beat this yet… And she was crying at saying good-bye to me. Maybe if I went back to that one, I’d not have gotten on the plane. Maybe I could have just stayed and gotten a few more good weeks with her.

Bible study was challenging today, talking about the passage where Jesus is saying that bit about, “When you pray for something, you must believe it will be granted to you.” It made me think, “Did I not pray the right way for Mama to be healed? Did I not really believe enough in God’s ability to heal? If I had, would she still be alive?” I’m certain the answer is “no,” but… this is, at the moment, a tough pill to swallow. The answers given at Bible study weren’t satisfactory, and I’m just going to have to keep digging.

Well, this has turned to a weird birthday post, at best. But I guess I can’t help when the grief hits or how it hits or where it hits. And it’s just been recently that this keeps coming up. It may play a big part in why I haven’t really done much about the birthday thing this year. Maybe I’m just not in the right mood.

But I’ll try.

One wonderful thing about this birthday is that I don’t feel old. Twenty-five felt strangely old to me because I’d essentially felt 20 the whole time I was ages 20-24. Then when 25 hit, I suddenly felt five years older, as opposed to the usual one year older. But this year… I don’t know, it may because I’m pretty much the youngest faculty-type person at VI and the youngest (or near the youngest) in a lot of settings, but I feel like I’ve got my whole life ahead of me and that I’m on the verge of something great. Like… like I’m just about to “hit my stride.” Maybe I’m not, but just the very feeling that I could is empowering enough for me.

poetry is nice.

Well.  Some poetry is nice. This is… merely self-expression in some written form other than narrative.

If a minute is a note,
is an hour a measure?
How many measures in a day?
Does my life construct a melody?

When I play it, or when you sing it,
what do I sound like?
Am I major or minor?

Can the melody of a life be harmonized?
Are those the melodies of other people,
and when they all intersect,
we make music?

Do lonely people (or lonely months)
just sound like a solitary melody?

When you sing it, or when I play it,
what do I sound like?
What kind of melody is my life?

~*~

White snow,
white piles of paper,
(too many) white hairs on my head.
I’m too young, too young, too young
for all these.

Wonder about love
and what it is and who it is.
I wish I could un-think thoughts and un-feel feelings

“Born older”
A mama who’s gone
and a daddy who’s lost
I’m too young, too young, too young
for all these.

Wander around love
where it is and when it will be.
I wish I could un-do so many, many things.

~*~

Recently,
I was not too bad.
I was doing just fine and fine was good enough,
for the time.

Recently,
I got my hopes up.
I dared to think I’d stumbled upon something,
something worthwhile.

Recently,
I surprised myself.
My own silly heart beat stronger for something,
something new.

Recently,
I got hurt.
I didn’t even say or do one little thing.
I didn’t have to.

Recently,
I got fed up.
I threw the towel in yet again, one more time,
and stopped trying.

And next time,
I’ll know better.
Right?

~*~

Today, I…
listened to a lot of songs
and wrote a lot of poems
and hated a lot of men
and relived a lot of memories
and missed a lot of friends
and held back a lot of tears
and felt a lot of hurt
and thought a lot about thinking about things a lot.

I guess you could say,
today I was human.

This entry was posted on January 28, 2011. 1 Comment

thoughts, thoughts, thoughts!

Ok, big day in Amy-Land, but I’m not going into all the details. Let’s all just settle for a random assortment of things on my mind today:

1. I want to be P!nk when I grow up. Not only because she is quite possibly the greatest female to happen to pop music, but also because, unlike other celebrity names that include punctuation, hers arguably makes phonetic sense if you sound it out. But no, seriously: watch her two latest videos, and tell me you don’t think she’s pretty incredible. (Or at least get a sense of what I define as incredible, in a pop music sense!)

2. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Razors are an example.

3. Beauty & the Beast + wine = some great conversations with a cat

4. The SAG Awards are the best awards. Maybe it’s the “artisan”-looking statue, but they just seem… more authentic, somehow??

5. I recently had the thought: “If I stay here, I will become an old maid.”

6. I have now reached a point in life when I have a) quoted a previous paper in a newer paper, and b) gotten a song I’ve written stuck in my head.

7. The pain from the lesson I learned in #2 is radiating through my right calf right now. Wow, I have learned what not to skimp on!

8. I am psyching myself up for the most “creative” semester I’ve had since I left grad school. Box, prepare to be thought outside of.

9. When you’re reading a book, you often can’t tell when a chapter ends. It’s like we’re caught off guard when it’s over. So how come I always have a very strong sense of when a chapter of my life is about to end? Did I not get a very good author? Or is the whole analogy of stages:life::chapters:book just a weak one to begin with?

10. (And to all you literal smarta…..lecks, remember these are thoughts/rhetorical questions, and #9 is not an invitation for all of you to start dishing out penny-ante advice. I am capable of coming up with my own better analogies for life and ways of expressing them, but this is the one that happens to be on the old noodle atm.)

11. Why bother writing things if you don’t want people to respond (see #10)? But then… why bother blogging at all? Especially if one already keeps a journal, as yours truly already does. I still fear I have some deep-seeded, unresolved Narcissism or attention issues. Maybe I’ll deal with those someday.)

12. I like to list things in numbers that the Bible seems to like: 3, 7, 12, etc. Yes. I’m a cliche.