Saturday, July 30, 2005

JulieVW is on the blogging equilant of a sabatical
Maybe I'll be back tomorrow
(Maybe not)

Meanwhile - entertain yourself in the archives
(or maybe just read a book instead!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


bore - n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen
- Ambrose Bierce

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This seemingly random bit of trivia is brought to you by your friendly WITNESS School Program Manager, who encourages everyone to join me at the world premiere of Truth, a choral ballet on the life of Sojourner Truth!

Sojourner Truth was a northern slave, not a southern slave.
(This completely ruins the stereotype I already had in my head!)

And her native language was . . . Dutch (go figure!)
She didn't learn English until she was a teenager.
(Because she was sold to English speaking owners who beat her for not talking in English).
But she always spoke with a Dutch accent.

(Now, for some real fun, try to imagine The 'Aint I a Woman Speech with a Dutch accent!)

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Becoming a successful performer requires a lot more than talent, and unfortunately, they don't teach you about promotion and marketing in music school. That's where The Field comes in, an organization dedicated to bringing artists together with the information they need to be a success in an increasingly crowded world of entertainment. The Field's web site "contains almost 300 interviews with presenters, performers and managers from all 50 states, as well as information about more than 1,000 performance venues and 1,500 other resources, including good coffee houses, schools where artists can teach and housing."
Full Article via ArtsJournal

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The decline in the quality of American undergraduate education has not yet become a major public issue. Americans may be cynical about their public institutions and leaders, but their skepticisim does not extend to the nature and content of a college education
Full Postvia HtStW

Went running for the first time in ages yesterday
It was not a pretty sight
I only made it one lap

Are there any runners out there who have tried the new Charoits of Fire shoe? Do you like it, or is the lack of support bothersome? Do you feet hurt after using them? Any info on your experiences would be appreciated!

Friday, July 22, 2005


The last memorization challenge did not go as well as I'd expected
The Langston Hughes piece is "sorta" memorized - but methinks it's too long and too serious (this is supposed to be a fun project - not torture!)

So this week we digress to something short and fun!
Feel free to play along at home

The Purple Cow

by Ogden Nash

I never saw a purple cow
I hope I never see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

Some time later….

Ah yes, I wrote "The Purple Cow"
I'm Sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I had dinner with my brother and his wife tonight
We ate corn dogs and homemade macaroni-n-cheese while watching Tom and Jerry and discussing the finer points of Harry Potter

Tom and Jerry is quite entertaining, and corn dogs are mighty tastey when they are made properly. We made fun of snogging, shared our Harry Potter dissapointments, analyzed the series to death, and speculated on the (yawn) future of the wizzarding world.

I won't bother you with the details of our two hour conversation (we have many problems with the last three books, and quite a few good theories for book #7) but I will share the major conclusions -

1. C.S. Lewis should have stopped before writing The Last Battle
2. Madeline L'Engle should have stopped before writing A Wind in the Door
3. Phillip Pullman should have stopped before writing the Amber Spy Glass
4. Eowin Colfer should have stopped before writing The Opal Deception
5. J.K. Rowling should have stopped before the Goblet of Fire.
Actually, none of us has read the Opal Deception yet, but we're extrapolating - it's scientific!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Don't ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

-Harold Whitman

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It has been quite a while since I subjected you to family photographs - so I'll make up for lost time by posting three. This is a rather boring picture of my parents the night before their wedding.

And here is a slightly less boring of my grandparents on the night before my parents wedding.

Meanwhile, at the kids table . . .

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My internet has been down almost all weekend
But it’s ok because I spent most of my time going to concerts and reading.
It’s done now.
My conclusion = Harry Potter #6 is not as good as #1, #2, or #3.
(Sequels are never as good as the original!)

I don’t expect much from book 7
In fact, the supposed cliff hanger is not exciting at all
** SPOILER - Book 7 will be all about Harry & Co. quiting school to destroy 4 objects before killing Voldermort. We can expect lots of people to get killed in the process before Harry and Ginny run off to get married (probably in a double wedding shared with Hermoine and Ron).


And I think this book could have done with a bit more editing
(In terms of content, and in terms of cleaning up some slang).

Perhaps I’ll have more H.P. thoughts later (I don’t want to say too much in case anyone is reading it

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Josh baby, you know I love you. You are amazingly cute, and not a bad player. We will always have the memory of that brief moment we shared at the Des Moines Civic Center! (And I have been dreaming about how I might “accidentally” run into you outside the SPCO buildings). But . . . our little infatuation has come to an end . . . there's a new cute violinist in my life, and frankly, I like him more than I ever liked you!

Peeka Kuusisto

Josh Baby, you’re cute and all, but I had the privilege of seeing Pekka Kuusisto perform on Friday night and again tonight. WOW! (wow!wow!wow!wow!) Pekka is my new favorite cute violinist. He engages the audience ten thousand times better than you ever have, he’s funny, and , unlike you, he is not constantly obsessed with his hair. Pekka plays so much cleaner than you too –without all that excesses ornamentation – it is absolutely beautiful! (His Bach sounded so delicate and simple – amazing!

Josh Baby, I loved the fact that you named your violin – I really thought I was the only one with a personified instrument and the fact that you named Tom made me (and Sydney) smile. But Pekka even outshines you there – tonight after his amazing unaccompanied Bach encore, Pekka took his bow, and then allowed his violin to take a bow. (I’m still researching to find out if Pekka has named his fiddle – but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that he is a kindred "namer" like us!)

Like I said, you and I will always have the Civic Center (and your Mozart CD still has a special place in my heart). But it’s time to move on. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors (unless of course you’re challenging Pekka to some sort of violin duel) and hope we can still be friends.

Julie VW

P.S. I’m never really liked your West Side Story project – but I put up with it as part of my “faithful fan” duties.

P.P.S. There’s no need to mention any of this Pekka-infatuation business to Yo-yo just yet, OK? If he's to be replaced, it's best that he hears it directly from me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)..... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Everyone else is thinking about who is going to die next. (What is it with Harry Potter people and their obsession with death?) Personally, I'm anxious to find out how Harry did on his OWLs. He needed to do well (especially in potions) if he's going to become as Auror. I'm nervous for him.

It's been a little warm here
Over 90 for three days.
I'm excited.
Hot weather is good for the garden.
This morning . . . I had THREE orange cherry tomatoes!
Methinks they might be red by dinner time!!!!
Summer is almost here

Maybe you don't get excited about fresh cherry tomoatoes
But that's OK - it just means I have an excuse not to share with you!
Happy Summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room.
Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.

-Stephen King

Pancakes are quite tasty
Blueberry pancakes are quiet tasty
Chocolate chip pancakes are quite tasty

But Blueberry chocolate chip pancakes - TO DIE FOR!
You should go make some right now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Alas, my one-woman campaign for truth, justice, and Sibelius did not work.
Those of you with really good memroies may recall my attempt to influence the Minnesota orchestra's People's Choice by promising gold stars to everyone that voted for the Sibelus concerto (or did a write in vote for Enesu's Romanian Rhapsody).

Alas, either my humble following did not vote (loosers!)
Or my humble following is too humble to rock the vote [sigh]

They'll be playing the Mendelsohn concerto, but since I've managed to get free ticekts (thanks to a friend of a friend who gave the friend leftovers!) I won't complain too much.

Perhaps I have no God- what does it matter?
I have beautify and joy and transcending loneliness,

I have the beginning of love - as beautiful as it
is feeble - as free as it is human.

I have the mountains that whisper secrets
held before men could speak,

I have the ocean that etches life on
the beach and caresses it in the sand,

I have a friend who smiles when he see
me, who weeps when he hears my pain,

I have a future full of surprises, a
present full of wonder

I have no past - the steps have disappeared
the wind has blown them away.

I stand in the Heavens and on earth,
I feel the breeze in my hair,

I can drink to the North Star and shout
on a bar stool,

I can feel the teeth of a hangover, the
joy of laziness,

The flush of my own rudeness, the surge of
my own ineptitude.

And I can know my own gentleness as well
my wonder, my nobility

I sense the call of creation, I feel its
swelling in my jaws.

I can lust and love, eat and drink, sleep
And rise,

But my easy God is gone - and in his stead
the mystery of loneliness and love!

From Leaving the Fold p. 180

Monday, July 11, 2005


Me: This was the first weekend in a long time that I didn't have something going on, or something specific to do - so I got bored, moped around the house, and felt miserable. (I wish I could say that I was a lazy loafing slob BECAUSE I felt miserable, but methinks it was the other way around - quite pathetic).

Missy: Don't feel like a lazy slob! Unless all you're doing is laying on the couch and eating bad food and drinking Corona (my new favorite).

Me: You have pretty much described my weekend - except it was ice tea, not Corona.

who sent a wonderful note after reading the above Missy excerpts

Delfi: Try a corona, it might make all the difference in your weekend! Disclaimer: I'm not promoting alcoholism or better living thru any chemicals.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In Loving Memory

Paul Alkema, Jr.
May 28, 1925 - July 9, 2002

Friday, July 08, 2005

Once upon a time, I rode the bus to school.
The "yellow limo" came to my stop around 6:30, and droped us off at Polaris High School at about 7:15.

This of course, was in the old days, when walkmans (the cassette kind) were still cool - and thus banned from school. Taking the threats of confiscation seriously, I left my tapes at home and used the morning bus ride to memorize amusing little poems. Playing with fun little poems was a great way to pass the time while my fellow riders brazenly listemed to their illicit walkmans.

(I finally got rebelious senior year and began sneaking the walkman on the bus just like everyone else, but tales of my rebellion are completely irrelevant to this story).

ANYWAY, NPR recently had an interesting piece about memorizing poetry, which has inspired me to start memorizing again. Right now, I'm thinking one poem every week or so, but that's a flexible goal.

The first challenge is a Langston Hughes piece. Anyone that wants to play along is certainly welcome to join me, quiz me, or suggest future chalenges!

As I Grew Older
It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun--
My dream.

And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky--
The wall.

I am black.

I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

- Langston Hughes

Thursday, July 07, 2005

* The Teddy Bear Band presented a free concert in the park last night. I brought my 3 year old nephew thinking he'd really enjoy a kids band in the park.
W R O N G - Miller didn't like anything about the concert - except the band's equipment truck. (We stayed afterwards just to watch the tech guys load speakers into the truck, and when the drummer came over to chat with the kid, he covered his ears!)

* The "Prairie Home Companion" movie needs extras tomorrow. About 850 adults will be needed at 11 a.m. to fill the seats at the Fitzgerald Theater for key scenes in the Robert Altman movie. article

* I found another interesting job - in Indianapolis. According to mapqwest, Indy is only an hour from Greentown. According to an internet salary calculator, the cost of living in Indianapolis is greater than Des Moines, but significantly less than Minneapolis. (But all this musing is premature - per my usual MO on job applications).

*Apparently the mnorch Final Fantasy concert is canceled (although it is very difficult to find any info. on why - ggggrrrrrrrr)

* I'm really hungry. And bored. And I don't feel like working.

* Violinists have pretty fingers, and re-wired brains (but so do monkeys that play video games).

The first thought, in my barely awake state of consciousness was something like, "Ho Hum another bombing by a terrorist group - big deal"

My second thought, after I woke up a bit, was "London? LONDON??"

I ran through my List-o-London people . . . O. is in Oxford so she's probably ok, Andrew is out in Wales, or something like that. Jonathan . . . damn I never should have lost touch with Jonathan. Who knows where he is at. I tried finding him a few months ago via google and came up with nothing. I'd love to get back in contact with him (but reminiscing about Jonathan Harris is hardly an appropriate response to terrorism)

So my third thought is more along the lines of "sigh - Here we go again (still)." No deep thoughts on international policy or things - just sadness. Sadness about people that are hurt, sadness that terrorists have to resort to terrorism. Sadness that I seem to care more about bombs in London than in Iraq. And just general sadness.

And what exactly is "Extra Vigilance"?
Specifically . . . what are we supposed to notice or panic about?
And even if I were "extra vigilant" and noticed something - the department that coordinates emergency response things in Minnesota - is on a skeleton staff because the freakin' state shutdown.

Yes, I'm feeling exasperated at everything this morning.
But I'll stop
It's time to post something happy and fuzzy. (Like Teddy Bears!)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ever stuck trying to name a song you heard? Now the computer will do it for you. "You call a toll-free number on your cell phone and play the music you're trying to identify for 15 seconds. The program then contacts you via text message, whether it can make the ID or not. Official Website

Alas, the supercomputer doesn't know classical or jazz (which are the melodies that I always get stuck in my head) but it's only a matter of time!

Full Article via ArtsJournal

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Papa VW's 80th birthday party was a success!
I got to see almost all of my cousins (first, second, and third!)
And play with kids
(The VW family is a great place to be/play with kids!)
And there was even time to visit with aunts, uncles, and Papa's friends.

There was a very funny moment between one of my cousin's boyfriends and Mrs. VanDyke - but the story doesn't re-tell well (I tried to write it out - but it looses something in the re-telling.
Ah well . . .

Jon and I drove home last night (in a record 6 hours 10 minutes)
And went to work this morning
I'm exhausted
But it's worth it!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

So I went to church today
It was the first time in over two years

The plan was to sit in the front pew
And make faces at Don during the sermon.
But at the last minute, I decided to sit in the middle and behave
(Keep in mind, "behave" is a relative term!)

Don and his wife Chris were "grown up" friends for most of my teenagerhood (and beyond). Don seems to intrinsically understand me and is one of the people on the super-duper kidney list. He and Chris have been pastoring at a small, middle-of-nowhere, country church for about 10 years (which is a story in and of itself). And I decided to surprise them by showing up for their Sunday service this morning!

The problem with a surprise like this is that they could have been out of town, on vacation, or otherwise AWOL. But it was a chance I was willing to take (Afterall, I'm already in Chicago for Papa VW's Birthday Party - all I had to loose was a couple gallons of gasoline and a few hours sleep!)

So I woke up extra early and drove to middle Illinois.
Found the church (not difficult in a small town).
Walked in,
Shook hands with the greeters,
Ventured into the sanctuary . . .
And there he was, talking to someone in the back row.
I smiled and stood there until he looked up!
The look on Don's face = priceless!


I'll spare you a sappy narrative about how good it was to be there.
(But it was good!)

[dial up internet access is limited - more later]

Friday, July 01, 2005

I just applied for a gig in Des Moines -
Not quite sure how I feel about that


This makes me sad.
Sandra was my favorite Supreme Court justice.
(Now I have to find a new favorite).

Last year I linked to a really great article about Sandra. And because there is nothing wrong with plagerizing oneself, I'm re-quote the quote that I already used.
(J.S. Bach did it, so can I!)

Whenever a glass ceiling appeared, O'Connor either ran around it or blasted through. Women like me, who have seldom faced that kind of discrimination, have no idea of the kind of strength required to deal with it. O'Connor uses the phrase, 'I had a great time!' often today, and you know she really means it. She loved working at the DA's office, and then opening her own practice, and then being a state senator, and then a judge. She loved doing it even when she had to, because no one would give her a regular job. When 'disaster struck' and she lost her baby sitter, she just stayed at home and did volunteer work for five years. She felt, and still feels, that she was lucky. But with all the talk of fun and chance, you sense that she forgets how hard she fought to make those chances pay off.
[Full Article]