Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Let’s stick with the birthday theme for one more day, partly because I have nothing to say, but mostly because Gordon Parks turns 92 today!! (Gordon is the focus of the VocalEssence Young Peoples Concert, and thus the major focus of my internship!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PARKS!

Monday, November 29, 2004

You wanna know what's great about working in a Choral Organization??
Office Birthday Parties! Where else will the entire staff sing Happy Birthday in 4 part harmony!? (And actually sound GOOD!)

Speaking of Birthdays . . .
Happy Birthday to Madeline L’Engle!
Happy Birthday to Louisa May Allcott!
Happy Birthday to C.S. Lewis!
What a great day for children’s literature!

And just in case you’re curious . . . .
My favorite MLE book = Ring of Endless Light
My favorite LMA book = Little Women
My favorite CSL book = Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Just so you know - I may never eat a grilled cheese sandwhich ever again. That said, I kinda like the agnostic version of this phenomena. But, there is so much more . . . click on over to ebay where one can purchase Virgin-Mary-Grilled-Cheese sandwich makers, T-shirts, thongs, mesh trucker hats, cleaner upper sponges, candles, photos-in-a-bottle, Christmas ornaments, silver pendants, coffee mugs, dollar bills, buttons, toilet paper, Hotmail addresses, wall clocks and oil paintings. (Don't you love the enterprising creativity of your fellow humanbeings?)
Links via The Raving Athiest

Book Thing It's not a bookstore, not a library, and definitely not a profit-driven enterprise. It's Book Thing, the Baltimore-based book exchange where rich meets poor, elitism dances with populism, and everyone goes away with either a good book or a good feeling.
Via Arts & Letters Daily

Friday, November 26, 2004

Titanic reinacted by bunnies!
Alien reinacted by bunnies!
The Exorcist reinacted by bunnies!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Praise the Lord oh Minneapolis and Saint Paul!
Praise thy God oh Minnesota!
For he hast placed thee here among the lakes and rivers.
He hast blest they children with a sense of modesty!

He maketh peace in thy homes.
And fillest thee with good apples and cheese.
He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth.
His word is everywhere among us
He is generous with snow
He scatters his snow upon us – over and over.

He makes cold and ice with powerful winds to draw us near to our kindred
And to ward off The thief, The Republican, And also those from Texas.

I will praise thee Lord that I may dwell in his house all the days of my life
And in the time of trouble he should hide me in his pavilion.
In the secret of his tabernacle he shall hide me.
He shall set me up upon a rock.

Hear oh Lord when I cry,
Have mercy upon me and answer me
Why hast thou allowed the wicked to prosper
While thy servant is bowed down with sorrow?
And why is Desperate Housewives a number one hit?
And also CSI, and American Idol?
Oh why oh God hast thou forsaken television?
What is the explanation for Donald Trump oh Lord
And for that matter, Lord God what is the reason for You-Know-Who-I’m-Thinking-Of . . .

Meanwhile, teach me they way oh Lord
And lead me in a plain path
And save me from cruelty
Had it not been for the goodness of the Lord we would have wandered long since into the dessert
and taken up residence in Las Vegas,
And become builders of office parks and gated communities.

Wait upon the Lord
He offers courage and he shall strengthen thine heart
Wait, I say, on the Lord.

- Slighty Adapted by Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving Recomendations

Part 3 In a continuing series

This episode is later than normal - a mysterious job lead, election hoopla, and YA junk sorta distracted me. (I hope no one has gone hungry waiting for me to recomend something!)

So without further ado . . .
Welcome to the Special Thanksgiving Edition of Recomendations!

1. Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pie - so easy to do. Get a Hersey bar and a pumpkin pie (homemade is best, but storemade will do). Melt the chocolate and carefully spread it on top of the pie. Let it cool until chocolate has hardened. (Yummy!)

2. Bread - Bread sandwhiches (a plain piece of bread on top of a plain piece of bread) have been a staple of my life for as long as I can remember. I recomend everyone go out and buy a bread machine - - or learn how to bake bread. (Yummy!)

3. Cranberry Relish - should not come out of a can! esp. when real cranberry relish is SO EASY to make. Take 1 cup of fresh cranberries and half an orange and chop in a food processor. Stir in sugar to taste (1/4 - 1/2 Cup). (Unchopped cranberries can be tossed in the freezer or given to me!)

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving Everyone! Recomendations is an ongoing series where I tell you what I think you should do. (Yes, I'm being bossy under the guise of helpful-ness. Sneaky eh?) You can also read book recomendations and music recomendations. If there's something you'd like me to recomend to you - - just leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If you've read Harry Potter #5 - you know exactly what's happening at YA right now. Our new board president is a Cornelius Fudge sort of person.
The Ministry of Magic is equivilant to the new board
Dolores Umbridge (hemm hemm) is the new Exec. Director

These people are mean, and bad, and they DON'T LISTEN
The interrupt and talk too loudly. (You know I don't deal well with interrupters -- but it seems to be the only way to be heard around here -- a bad habit). And these bad people have turned what used to be a magical place (YA/Hogwarts) into a place no one wants to be.

"So," you wonder, "what role does Julie play in this YA/HP mellow drama?"
Quite obviously, I'm Neville - the geeky klutz that never quite fits in, forgets things, and gets crummy grades. (Neville has an undiagnosed learning disability - I'm quite sure of it! Internet rummors say that he is going to become a Hogwarts teacher in book 7 - - because we all know deep down inside Neville is smart!) Anyone want to start a Neville Fan Club with me?)

This is where I should complain about the things the board president told me today - but I'll spare you. (It'd take too long to explain the circumstances and I'd just sound like a whiner). Suffice it to say that my position has been renamed; instead of being "Communicators Coordinator" I’m now "Chief Scapegoat" (a role not suited to one with perfectionist tendencies).

That's all
Except . . .
On a much brighter note, I'm done with YA for today (HORRAY)
And I only have 12 days left there (HORRAY!)
And I have something like 10 vacation days still to use (HORRAY!)
And tonight, I'm taking Dear 'ole Dad to the VocalEssence Concert (HORRAY!)
And tomorrow, brother Phil is coming home for Thanksgiving (HORRAY!)
Life is good

Monday, November 22, 2004

First all of - that's just exciting in its own right
Secondly they're VocalEssence Business cards
Organizations don't buy business cards for interns that are supposed to be done in three weeks, do they??
Could it possibly be a promising indication of future (official) job offer???
(fingers crossed!!)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Day Dreaming and Thinking

One knows that one's disposition has improved when one starts daydreaming again. It's been quite a while since I've dreamed and played "let's pretend" games with myself.

Today, I wanna live on an old-fashioned farm. You need a James Herriot sort of picture in your mind - everyone is outside working, creating, playing, learning and doing things like milking cows, sheering sheep, making candles and soap, picking wild strawberries. Laura Ingalls probably never had sunshine and 60 degree weather in November, but courtsey of the "let's pretend game" we can have an unseasonably warm and sunny day!

In my imagination there are 10-15 other people on the farm, and we all work together as one big happy team. There's a wise old woman (who tells "wise-old-woman-stories" while making cinnamon rolls). And a James Herriot kind of person that can teach me how to take care of the animals. There are a few kids running around, and dogs, cats, horses, coews, sheep, and chickens. (mmmmmmmm......fresh eggs!) Clothes are exclusively for comfort (not fashion) and no one notices if your socks don't match.

We have big dinners together on the farm, sing songs, act goofy, and spend a lot of time day dreaming (day dreaming in your day dreams - come on Julie - that's a little much!)

Oh . . . and Trees - trees are important! Let's put a little 2-3 acre wooded area behind the farm (with a creek!) And unlike James Herriot's world, there are computers with high-speed internet access (but we only use them for a couple hours each week!) And hot showers (indoor toliets are optional - hot showers and washing machines are required!)

Also, in a non-Laura Ingalls kind of way, people on this farm don't make their own clothes - we buy them just like everyone else in the 21st century ('cause I'm really bad at sewing/knitting/general fabric-domestic-type things, and have no desire to do something at which I suck!)

Pretend games aside - methinks a little break from the 'real world' might be nice. This kid is tired of school and tired of working for other people. (And SO TIRED of writing papers.) Someday I'm gonna have to figure out what I wanna be when I grow up. Right now the only thing that sounds fulfilling is playing, singing, working, and doing stuff on my pretend farm.

I've never met a healthy person who worried much about his health or a good person who worried much about his soul.
- Haldane

(hhhhmmmmmm........I'm in trouble then!)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

VocalEssence is singing on Prairie Home Companion tonight.
I'm listening to the broadcast even as I type --
Kasey Chambers is amazing.
(And I'm grateful for eyebrows too!)
(And "Navajo Prayer" is an awesome piece!)
Intrigued?? go listen to the web re-broadcast

George Bush is visiting Canada November 30. The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom makes a compelling argument that under Canadian and International law he could be arrested and jailed for war crimes the moment he steps on Canadian soil.

Interesting article.
Of course it 'aint gonna happen, but the possibilities are intriguing!
You can read the full article here
Via How to Save the World

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I've spent way too much time searching the basement for my old "diary."
It was an awful pastel thing - which I hated.
But some relative gave it to me as a present.
And I felt like I HAD to use it.

On the front page, I crossed out the word "Diary" and wrote "JOURNAL"
('Lest anyone should discover it and think I did something as girly as keep a "diary").

I really don't care much about this 5th grade JOURNAL - but there's one section I want to read.
It's the from The Worst Day of My Life.

The Worst Day of My Life was in 5th grade
(A very difficult year - School was awful, Dear 'ole Dad was off work with health issues, Mother Dear was trying to raise 5 kids, Phil was a baby. Pre-adolesent torment was raging, I was flooded with responsibilities dispoportionate to my age, and life just lacked stability.

The specifics of that day are fuzzy - but I remember making dinner (tuna casserole and biscuts from a can!) Somehow the biscuts exploded out of the can, and fell on the floor. It must have been an awful day because the fallen biscuts pushed me over the edge - I lost it. Screaming. Crying. Yelling. It was bad.

Dear 'ole Dad told me to write down everything that happened and promised that someday laugh about it.
I remember pulling out that putrid pastel JOURNAL and writing down everything - - only because Dear 'old Dad told me too.
I was *SO* angry at him for suggesting that one day it might seem funny to me. It was like he was trivializing my horrible rotten miserable day.

A year or two later, I re-read what I'd written, and found no humor in it. (Dear 'ole Dad was WRONG!)

But I wonder if it'd be funny today (with 16+ years of distance). . . .

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Fun Picture of the Day!

If I were entitled to title this pix, I'd call it El Grillo

Via Best of Board

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

2 Minutes of Fame
Dear brother Andrew is the manager of a Good Will store.
He used to work at Barnes and Noble (meaning I got a nice discount on books!) but Good Will isn't a bad job either. (Every once in a while someone will donate something really cool (Like a two foot square foam core mounted replica of the Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" Album) and Dear Brother Andrew will call me up and say "Hey sister dear, do you want first dibs on a enlarged foamcore print of Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' for $2?"

It's not the same as a 30% book discount - but it's still gosh darn nice!

So . . . a couple months ago Andy's store got a pretty neat donation of a WWI family scrap book. It has postcards, letters from a soldier, family pictures, and historical artifacts. “I still can't believe they meant to donate this," says brother dear, "this has to be an accident.”

So, Dear Brother Andrew has been holding onto the album for four months, trying to find the family. Today, the media got ahold of the story and decided to interview him. Brother Andy, not expecting a news crew to show up, was unshaven and dressed in his blah-est work clothes - - so just before the cameras started rolling, he pulled some stuff off the Good Will rack and changed into a suit (smart boy! He picked well -- you'd never know it was a Good Will outfit!!)

If you are so inspired, you can read/watch the segment of my now famous brother and the scrapbook here. (Notice how they spelled his name three different ways . . . none of them correctly!)

And if you just happen to know something about Ernest Page - or are a long lost grandchild - Please leave a comment!!

St. Olaf College won approval Monday from the Federal Communications Commission to sell its WCAL radio station to Minnesota Public Radio. . . . St. Olaf used WCAL to broadcast classical music. MPR said it is planning to use the stations for something other than its regular MPR and classical music broadcasts. more

I grew up in Chicagoland - where we had two classical radio stations.
Then I went to Iowa - where there were two classical radio stations
Minnesota, also had two classical radio stations, until now
Life with only one classical radio - - Ouch!
I will miss the vesper services Live Organ Recitals broadcast each evening. There's no place else you can catch really really good organ music.

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's a Girl Scouts Monday!
We held an "investuture" ceramony, and I got to pin four girl scouts. The first one went ceremonously perfect.
The second kid gave me a spontaneous hug and started crying.
Not to be out done, the third one hugged me and said in her award-wining-movie-star-voice "This is the happiest day of my life!" (yes, I laughed - it couldn't be helped!)
My fourth girl, not knowing if she should cry, laugh, hug, or handshake; told me that she had a cat and her first 'good deed' as a girl scout would be to pet the cat!!

(My girls are fabulous!)

By the way, Girl Scout cookies go on sale Jan. 15!
(just in case you were curious!)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Dec. 9, 2004 - Last day as a VocalEssence Intern
Dec. 23, 2004 - Last day as YA Employee
14 vacation/personal days need to be used up before then. . .
So I'm taking long long weekends.
And slowly going crazy.

Since Thursday I've done laundry, baked cookies, played with the dog, worked on a paper that's not due for two weeks, sent out a resume, worked on another paper that's not due until next month, speed read a "for fun" book, slept, ran, practiced, organizaed my sock drawer, wasted incredible amounts of time online, and am bored out of my mind!! If a 4 day weekend bores me to tears - what will an Unemployed-Internshp-Less life do to me?

Before I get overly dramatic - there is hope . . .
The VocalEssence big-wigs are meeting on Monday to determine if there's any money to hire me. (If not - I will probably stick around as a volunteer - but they don't know that).

And there is another possibility for a VERY part time (3-5 hours a wk) gig teaching basic music theory. (It's dependant on enrollment, so who knows if it will actually happen.)

And I hear the Guthrie Ticket office could use some part time help (can you say "Comp. Tickets" boys and girls?)

And I sent out a resume for an interesting Education Coordinator postion
(And I suppose I could sub)

So it's not all as bad as my inner drama queen would have you believe.
But I'm still bored.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The height of security is not to give a damn
-Mario Buatta

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Timely Blog-Quote
And so if you walk into your job tomorrow and are told that you have become expendable overnight, consider leaving the Swingline stapler, the ergonomic chair, and the long-expired yogurt in the company fridge behind for your boss to clean up. In fact, why don’t you strip down to the bare essentials and just start running. [more]


1. Read # 147 from Sunday’s post
2. Read yesterday’s post

3. The new Executive Director at YA just informed me that my position will be eliminated Jan. 1.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Publicly stated goal – to make Jan. 14, 2005 my last day at YA.
I’m so ready to quit.
In my imagination, I gave 2 weeks notice today
(and then took 2 weeks of vacation!)

If a job doesn’t materialize before then, I will seriously consider dipping into savings, taking out extra student loans, subbing, and or robbing a bank to make this happen.

I need to leave.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Hey Kids!
You know how this works (but just in case you've forgotten . .
There's a list,
A long list - with lots of stuff on it.
Things like "Published a book" and "Rescued puppies from a flaming building"
One is supposed to copy the whole list, highlight the things one has done/accomplished, and post it on your website.

But I don’t always follow directions - -
So instead of forcing you to scroll through a 200 item list, I created an abbreviated list. It only includes the stuff I feel like sharing (along with extra BONOUS comments!!)

If you want to read the WHOLE bloody list (just to speculate on what I haven't told you!) Look here

6. Held a tarantula
(Yes! Dr. Bob Wolff (aka “spiderman”) was one of the best Sunday School speakers ever! In terms of religious ed. it was probably not what my SS Teacher had in mind, but I learned all about the care/feeding/lifestyle of tarantulas! At the end, he had all the brave kids come up to pet/ hold spiders. I have a picture somewhere which I might post up here someday).
Did 'ya know that tarantulas don’t drink out of a waterbottle (like your guinea pig ) and they don’t drink out of a bowl (like your cat). Instead Dr. Wolff soaked sponges in water and put them into the cages. Watching a tarantula suck water out of a sponge is SUPERCOOL!

9. Hugged a tree
(many many times!)

14. Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
(although I much prefer waking up early to watch the sunrise – it makes me less cranky!)

18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
(lettuce and tomatoes every summer!)

20. Slept under the stars
(falling asleep on a long car trip is the best sleep I can get. Sleeping out under the stars is the second best sleep I can get!)

21. Changed a baby’s diaper
(you mean there are people that haven’t?)

22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
(I would love to take a TRIP and not just go on a ride!)

26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

28. Had a food fight
(and I didn’t like it one bit! What a waste).

30. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
(and I usually go to work when I’m sick – go figure!)

32. Had a snowball fight

34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
(I know you’re all shocked!)

39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar

40. Seen a total eclipse (lunar)

43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
(specifically December 11 – 13, 1996)

44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
(Notice how that's NOT in bold? But dancing like a fool will be one of the first things I do when they discover a cure for self-conscious-ness)

52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
(The trick is in being satisfied, not in having enough money!)

53. Had amazing friends
(someday I’ll write about them all!)

57. Backpacked in Europe
(but I would love to do this someday!)

59. Rock climbing
(if fake “rock walls” count)

66. Visited Japan (Something else that I’d LOVE to do someday!)

70. Pretended to be a superhero
(more often than I should admit!)

76. Kissed in the rain
(and I had to go to the bathroom, and the rain was dripping – making me have to go worse – so immediately after the kiss I ran off to find a toilet. The poor boy was stuck standing there – alone – not really knowing why I ran off!)

77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain

84. Started a business

(But only the IRS would really consider it a “business”)

87. Taken a martial arts class
(Too scared of hurting myself)

97. Gone without food for 5 days
(after day 2 it’s easy!)

99. Won first prize in a costume contest
(In 6th Grade I was a Christmas tree and won the costume contest at the 6th grade dance. Little did I know that it’s not cool for 6th graders to dress up, let alone draw attention to one’s costumed self by WINNING the contest.)

101. Gotten a tattoo (not even interested)
105. Got flowers for no reason
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check

132. Called or written your Congress person
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

(maybe it's time to do that again . . . )

144. Petted a stingray
(at Underwater World - I wonder if petting zoo animals get sick from having all those people (with their germ-y hands) touching them all the time . . . )

146. Helped an animal give birth
(when my childhood hamster was having babies my mom told me to leave it alone - - which I thought was very helpful - - but I don't think that counts)

147. Been fired or laid off from a job
(not yet, but we’ll see what happens at YA)

152. Rode on a motorcycle
(thanks to Uncle Rob!)

161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
(and back up to the top!)

163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

170. Eaten sushi
(Diane introduced me to Sushi, and Japanese food in general. I should write about her someday – she is one of the most amazing people on the planet!)

179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
(my neighbor in Crestwood would trade her red tomatoes for our green tomatoes. She fried the green ones to share with us, and we canned the red ones to share with her!)

181. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
(Chaim Potok! Harper Lee! Ray Bradbury! Willa Carter!)

193. Built your own PC from parts
(with SUBSTANTIAL help from Jon - - like he did almost everything and I cheered him on, handed him an occasional part, asked too many questions, and generally got in the way!)

200: Been arrested
(not me - but my grandfather (the one I miss terribly) was arrested once. He was a garbage man and a cop pulled him over because his truck was supposedly over the weight limit. Grandpa asked him how he knew that (since he didn’t actually weigh the truck) and the copper arrested him for being smart. They put him in a holding cell until my grandmother could bail him out. When she arrived, he was sitting in jail without shoelaces or a belt (because the cops confiscated them from all “prisoners” before locking them up!) On the court day, the judge immediately dismissed the case. (I like to imagine that the cop got a good scolding – but I really don’t know that part of the story!)

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Good Day
I got to be chaufer for a couple of VocalEssence composers
(Which means I got to hang out, talk, evesdrop, and generally pick their brains today!)

AND I weaseled my way into attending Prairie Home Companion with the composers!
(Garrision Kellior in his first show after the election - PLUS Roy Blunt Jr.! What fun!)

Two really nice things
1. Hanging out with composer-type-people. These are the kind of people that talk about "the goove" of Prokofiev's piano concerto while eating sushi. Honest plurality and interesting insights as well as beautiful accents, fantastic connections, and incredible stories - t'was good!

2.Being inspired again. Life fills up, inspiration takes a back seat.
But today . . . today was inspiring! It's the kind of inspiration you can only get by watching/haning out with Type AAA personalities that work obsessviely - and love every minute of it.

There are people who are bridge-builders by nature and people who are bridge-burners by nature. Most people could go either way, depending on the situation. When the bridge-burners dominate and the bridge-builders fail to put their energy into building bridges, everything falls apart. When moderate Muslims and moderate Christians fail to build bridges across the culture gap, the burners throw everything out of balance.

It's everyone's problem, and it's everyone's fault. The magnetism of millions of people acting in synchronicity is unstoppable, and it only works if people participate. If peace-loving people fail to apply themselves to building a sane future, if they fail to bridge cultural divides, there is nothing to stop the firestarters from lighting matches.

-Michael Christopher

Thursday, November 04, 2004

This is Why He's My Best Friend
Excerpt from a conversation last week . . .

Me: I bought new shoes. They're *SO* comfortable, and have the best support of any shoes I've ever had [blah blah blah] . . . AND according to the the box, they glow in the dark too!

Him: Glow in the dark? Are you sure it's not just reflective

Me: Yeah - That's probably what I mean. . . I suppose glow in the dark would be a little juvinille.

Him: But you wanted glow in the dark shoes, didn't you?

Me: Yeah . . .

Today, I came home from orchestra and found a suprise present . . .
Too cool!
(thank you!)

Still No Word
Methinks the exciting "whoo hoo" opportunity 'aint gonna happen.
A call should have come yesterday, or today
But nothing has
It would have been a nice little job
Having them reply to my resume within an hour (ON A SATURDAY!) really got my hopes up.
The great interview (and being told I was "at the top of the list") was nice too!
But alas . . . nothing.

Long time readers may recognize a recurring pattern . . .
Julie Applies for Job
Julie Gets Excited
Julie gets a little cocky

Someday I'll learn.
(It was such a *perfect* opportunity!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Happy Election Day
Too much has already been said,
Even more will be said - all day long;
through the night;
and likely in the comming days.
But today is your day to speak
To all my US readers (of legal age) - HAPPY VOTING!
A History Lesson on the Privilege of Voting

Monday, November 01, 2004

Camping & Cookies
Tonight is my first night as a Studio 2B Girl Scout Volunteer!!
I'll be working with a group of "under-served" girls at a local community center!
So excited! (they want to go CAMPING!)

UPDATE: And it was good. Four girls (the quiet one, the nerdy one, the wild one, and the sidekick). And they are absolutely delightful!