Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anything but Ordinary

This weekend, by the numbers

12 - Number of times I crossed the state line in
5 - days
1 - accidental state line crossing followed by
1 - course correction state line crossing
90 - minutes we were lost
7 - instruments played during the course of the Hosanna

2 - instruments played simultaneously

2 - traditional meals planned and cooked for friends in part by me

1 -meal that went as planned

It was a crazy fun weekend. Let's recap.


Hosanna went really well. I was at the DC temple visitors center every evening from Wednesday to Saturday, which accounts for 8 of the state line crossings. Considering that some of us got the music two weeks ago and that all three groups (instrumentalists, visiting vocalists, and resident choir) didn't actually get together for the first time until Thursday, it wasn't bad. I actually had a lot of fun playing, and grew increasingly confident in my percussion skills as the week went on. I only knocked down the mark tree once! So what if I played the gong at forte instead of piano once, or that I played an E flat instead of an E natural on the chimes? It wasn't so terribly noticeable. The seven instruments I played:

1 - Bass drum
2 - Gong
3 - Chimes
4 - Triangle
5 - Finger cymbals
6 - Crash cymbals
7 - Tom-toms

I had several compliments from people I don't know, usually impressed with my concentration or the fact that I could play the bass drum and gong at the same time in parts. Also, a group of people from the visiting choir thought I was an exact doppelganger of their friend, April, and it was great fun to tease them about it all weekend. The other two "percussionistas", as we called ourselves, were wonderful to work with.

Regardless of the quality of the music, I'm glad that I was part of it. I'm still counting tempos in my head and probably will be for a few more days. The only movement I was able to listen to (since I wasn't playing) was the Allegro for Violin. It gave me a chance to reflect on the music, and I realized that music is on testament to me that Heavenly Father exists. Its beautiful possibilities could not be completely random. Of course, it holds a power for evil, and one must be conscious of those possibilities.
Getting Lost

Friday night, after the concert, I went out to dinner with friends and then we split up into two cars to go to a birthday party, supposedly with the same directions. Princess and I were just talking and enjoying the drive when we crossed the state line a second time and found ourselves in Maryland again. We turned around, called for directions several times, and finally made it to the party an hour and a half after we left. It was 11:30 PM. Oops! I was rather stressed about it, and Princess wasn't helping with his critiques of my driving. (Not bad, necessarily, but critical nonetheless.) Of course, the party was also out of the ordinary as the birthday boy and I were not making eye contact, on purpose, because of an inside joke. We went to extremes to not look directly at each other. Luckily, my drive home was much less eventful.

Easter Meals

My family always makes creamed eggs over toast for Easter breakfast (usually on Saturday), and I decided to recreate this tradition for the "nephew's" parents. First, I had to find my basket (under the baby bath tub), which was incredibly sweet of them. The actual meal went perfectly. I don't think I've ever made a white sauce that good.

Dinner didn't go as well. The plan was to eat at Smash's house at 5:30, and I was providing the ham. Since I didn't want to make it at my house and then drive the 30 minutes to Maryland, I went over to the home of Princess and The Universe to cook it, which is 5 minutes from Casa Crothers. The boys trusted me enough to leave whilst I napped and the ham baked.

5:45 - Ham is done (according to my timer). The oven is locked and won't open. To my surprise, Princess is still home but doesn't know anymore than I do.

6:10ish - The oven latch will move, but the lock won't unlock.

6:50 - Princess finally unhooks the lock and the ham is set free!

7:00 - Ham juice spills all over Princess' legs when I turn a corner.

7:20 - We finally arrive at Casa Crothers, where everyone has already eaten and all the other food is cold.

Oh well. Next year will be better, but I don't know how soon the boys will let me cook at their house again. Maybe if I don't use the oven?

Princess remarked (as we were on our way to dinner for real): Life is a lot less ordinary when you're around.

I like it that way. He must too, as he suggested later that we get together next week and get carjacked. It will certainly keep us all on our toes.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm looking at you through the glass

I haven't posted this week because I honestly haven't felt up to it. I don't want this blog to turn all emo, and I have a journal that's helping me process through my emotions. I'm just trying to get through everything I have to do, which is a lot, but it's mostly boring to anyone else but me. As for how I'm really doing - I'm okay most of the time, which is good, but I have some crazy intense moments where I feel like I'm going to implode with sadness/frustration/anger. Such is the natural order of the grieving process. I put eight years into a relationship (in whatever capacity, from friends to dating and everywhere in between) that came to an abrupt end. I'm entitled to grieve.

In the meantime, I've been reminded that I have some excellent friends. Princess took particularly good care of me this weekend. Konfusion called me in the middle of the day today to check on me. And everyone else (you know who you are) is being positively amazing. I love you all.

For something fun, I'll do a photo post I borrowed from Kate the Great.

Do a Google image search and pick an image from the first page. Then post the image in response to the statement above.

Age I'll be on my next birthday

A place I'd like to visit

The city I live in

My favorite place

One of my favorite things to do

One of my favorite foods

My favorite flower

My favorite color

Name of a former pet

Major in college

My first job

My hope for 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hate is a strong word, but I really really really don't like you

I thought the worst that was going to happen today was that someone I'm planning on spending time with this evening was going to drive with their roommates to a gathering this evening instead of with me. While that could still happen, it's no longer the worst thing.

The guy I've briefly alluded to in previous posts? We're done. It sucks. He did something really, really stupid (to put it mildly), and, as one consequence, we both agree that we can't be together at all right now. Or probably ever.

I need a hug.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's my age again?

Once again, we are here to speak on the subject of age.

When you go out to eat next, take a look around at the other groups that are there. During dinner it's often a group of friends, a family, or a couple. During the business lunch hour, however, just about everyone is grouped by age. You'll see tables of 20-30-somethings, middle-aged tables, and older tables. Even if it's people from the same office, they're all about the same age.

Except my table.

At my table, everyone is in their late thirties to early sixties.

Except me.

The token person in her early 20s.

It's weird! It doesn't feel weird, because I get along with these people. But it really does look weird. We're the only table at any restaurant we've ever gone to that has that kind of mix. I notice these things. I also decided that people probably think I'm their administrative assistant or something, because of my age. Which isn't true. It's even weirder when I go out with my building (rather than the people in the office I report to which is a building in a different city), because I sit with the older women who are in my same industry, rather than the guys my age that are in the shipping department.

I really do work in an industry that attracts a lot of older people. Most people in academia and libraries are definitely not in their 20s any more. I don't mind, really, as my youth is a very good thing. It just something that is really apparent every time we go out.

I apologize for the more rambling nature of this post, but it's just something I've been thinking about and needed to start formulating some thoughts on.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's like WOW!

I ran my 5K on Saturday! Sydney couldn't make it, but Midge and Sarah did. Conditions were perfect. The sun wasn't out and it was raining. Did I say perfect? I meant less than ideal, but really not bad. The rain slowed just before the start time, and didn't start picking up again until my last mile. Also, there were hills, which I hadn't trained for. Overall, however, it was a great day for a race.

My race goals were as follows:

1 - Finish, and not in last
2 - Never stop moving
3 - Come in under 45 minutes

Considering this was my first running race EVER, I think I did pretty darn well.


Place O'All Name Age Time Pace

===== ===== =========================== === ======= =====
18/25 329 STRETCH AMANDA 23 42:10 13:35

Well under my goal! Yes! I lost Midge and Sarah about a mile in (they outpaced me), but that's quite alright. I had my iPod to keep me company.

Here is Saturday's playlist (don't judge me):

All I Really Want - Alanis Morissette
Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
Shake It - Metro Station
Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
Wannabe - Spice Girls
Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Bad Reputation - Halfcocked
The First - Tegan and Sara
Precious Things - Tori Amos
Don't Turn Around - Ace of Base
Like Wow! - Leslie Carter

Sadly, I didn't even think about having some Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphy's, which would have been perfect for the Shamrock Run, until we were gathering at the start line. I'm really pleased with the results, as I was out to beat no one but myself (and at least 100 people that were still behind me). I definitely have the race bug now and can't wait to run another one.

In other fitness news, my waist measurement is smaller than it was in December and it's been noted that I look like I've lost weight. YES!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My heart beats like a drum

I've been singing all my life. When I was nine years old, my mom started teaching me how to play the piano. When I was 12, and in seventh grade, I started taking private harp lessons that were being offered through my school's music department. My eighth grade year started and the band teacher came to find me in between classes one day. I was in a wheelchair, recovering from foot surgery, waiting outside my English class. (I would change classes before everyone else, because of the wheelchair.) She had a proposition.

All the other harpists were in ninth grade now or already in the symphonic band. Ms. Dalton wanted a harpist for festival season, in the spring. It was then football season, and harps don't exactly fit into pep band music. So, in the meantime, knowing I had a piano background, it was suggested I play percussion. I accepted.

I mainly played the mallet instruments, but occasionally played on the drumline. Come Christmas, I was playing mallets, keyboard, and harp, sometimes in the same song. I was able to walk within a month of school starting, but I couldn't stand for long periods of time. So, we would arrange instruments around chairs and stools. I obviously couldn't move my own instruments around, but I was lucky enough to have some very nice friends in the band. I'd hold a clarinet or two, and off they'd scoot. At our first festival in the spring, I'd recently had another surgery and was back in a wheelchair. Wheelchairs, non-handicapped buses, and band equipment. It was a very interesting day. Our second festival took us to Splashtown, the area waterpark. Sadly, I was still in a cast and had to spend all our non-playing time reading poolside, without even the option of jumping in.

It was a really fun year. I learned a lot musically and played many different instruments. I was planning on being in the marching band at the high school and had even been measured for my uniform. Ms. Dalton was even encouraging me to go for drum major.

The following summer, my family moved to Utah. I was back in junior high, but I wanted to continue in band. Unfortunately, the band teacher there had this rule that you couldn't play percussion without playing another instrument first. Despite my background, and the fact I was in 9th and this would be my last year in junior high, she still wanted me to start in the 7th grade clarinet class. I said no, and that was the end of my formal percussion career.

Where am I going with all this?

Sometimes, on audition forms, I still put that I'm a percussionist. I've never had to do anything terribly hard and it's never really come up. So, it was a complete surprise when I got this email a few days ago, from the assistant director of Mormon Choir.


I've been told you're a percussionist. . .

What!? Who told you that? Wait. It was me. Dang it! It went on, asking about my background and if I'd be willing to play percussion instead of sing in our upcoming concert. I responded with, basically, "It's been a few years, but sure." and was then asked to attend a percussion rehearsal tonight.

I didn't completely suck. I need to get my counting skills back up to snuff, but it was making sense. We had another person who couldn't come tonight that I was technically substituting for, but since he's even less of a real percussionist than I am, I volunteered to be the permanent fourth person on percussion.

I'm confident and freaked out at the same time. It's literally been ten years since I formally played percussion in a performance.

Did I mention the concert is in two weeks?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Jump Around!

Leap Day! Get it?

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post on such a rare day, but I really don't have anything to talk about.

Instead, I give you some great ways to waste time, for those of you who have nothing better do this weekend:

A List of Obsolete Skills

Mario Bros. Online