Saturday, March 31, 2007

I just got a CD of the Syracuse recital in the mail from my Dad. I posted a few tracks on my MySpace page if you're interested. MySpace harassed me not too long ago about copyright infringement, so to avoid confusion I labeled the songs 1,2,3, & 4. I'll tell you what they are here:

1. En Sourdine (Faure) with Susan Gaeddert, piano
2. Danny Boy (trad.) with Susan Gaeddert, piano
3. With Rue My Heart is Laden (Vaughan Williams) with Adrienne Caravan, violin
4. Il pleure dans mon cœur (Debussy) with Susan Gaeddert, piano

(note to Susan: this recording is actually from the Oswego recital. I guess the Syracuse recital didn't get recorded - well, it was videotaped, but the audio quality isn't too good.)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pardon me as I temporarily make my blog really ugly while I am learning HTML!! I started taking a class last night called Intro to Web Design, in which I didn't really learn much, but which has inspired me to play around more on my own. The class is a sort of survey of the fundamental programming languages and software applications for developing web pages. It meets for 8 weeks and covers the basics of HTML, Web Editor(? - the second class is titled "HTML and the Web Editor"), Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop, and Flash. HTML is the only one of those I know something about (well, that's a lie - I've also used Photoshop) - because of this blog - and what we learned in class wasn't much more than what I already knew - and we went through what could have taken us about 15 minutes in almost 2 hours. The course is offered by the local community education division, so there is quite a range in levels. The teacher seems like a smart guy, but so far in the first class he was occupied a lot of the time by rather elementary questions. Oh well. The most useful thing I learned was that I can view the source code for any web page easily by my web browser's tool bar (on Firefox, go to "View", then "Page Source"). I had no idea about that. That helps a ton because now I can look at a webpage and then look at the code that created it and let my brain wheels turn. So, I might learn a little something about something... :-) It makes life more interesting, given that during the day I am bogged down by rather mundane, yet very stressful, secretarial work.
The nephew of one of my co-workers decided to make a little film to illustrate how glad he was to be in MA for spring break and not, say, Cancun or something...

Spring Break in New England

I thought it was pretty amusing.
One of the other girls who works here just showed me this picture of Lily as a puppy. Pretty darn cute!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Guess who just farted under my desk?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Random images from my workplace...








Sunday, March 25, 2007

After running this afternoon I was inspired (perhaps by my runner's high) to take a few photos of my favorite place to run. It's called the Brookline Reservoir and is ideal for running because the path is gravel (which is best for my knees) and there are only other pedestrians and dogs on the path -- no cars or bikes to watch out for. Also, the path is a circle, so you can pretty much just zone out.




Hmmm... maybe I'll have to post more photos another time when it's not so dark...

Friday, March 23, 2007

For some reason I am in a reading slump. I have read part of many books, but I haven't finished a book in months! So, I've decided to create a post that I hope will inspire me to read!! Your job, as a faithful reader of my blog, is to post (either as a comment on my blog or a post on your blog) the last 3-10 books you have read and then tell me which were your favorites. Descriptions are also most welcome. I would be so greatful!!! Thanks!

Here is my list:

The Road to Santiago (NF) - Kathryn Harrison
Fathers and Sons (F) - Ivan Turgenev
The Omnivore's Dilemma (NF) - Michael Pollan
The Brothers Karamazov (F) - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Suburban Safari (NF) - Hannah Holmes
Field Notes from the Northern Forest (NF) - Curt Stager
Introducing Sociology (NF) - Richard Osborne
Writing from the Heart (NF) - Nancy Slonim Aronie
The Giver (F) - Lois Lowry

Note the dearth of fiction...

So, let's see...

My favorite non-fiction book was Field Notes from the Northern Forest. That rocked! Curt Stager's writing style is really terrific and he explains all sorts of really fascinating things about nature. (Note: you may remember my comments about "Why Bugs Bite" that I posted a while back). I wish he would write another book! A close second would be the Omnivore's Dilemma. This book completely changed the way I think about food, which is pretty remarkable, I think.

My favorite fiction book was definitely The Brothers Karamazov, but I admit it took me a LONG time to read it. It's REALLY long and dense, but worth putting time into. There is SO much in there. I have to say Lois Lowry's The Giver was pretty awesome, too, in a totally creepy way.

So, help me out here, would ya?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

About a week before my recital, I was talking on the phone with my best friend, Lara, telling her I thought I was done performing -- that I thought the upcoming concert would be my last. I told her the anxiety in preparing this recital was too much and that it just wasn't worth it anymore. Here it is just three days after the recitals are over, I've recovered for the most part from the stress, and now I'm thinking about when I can sing again! It's a funny thing. I think recitaling is my ideal medium. Of all the ways I can express my talent, next to singing solos in church, singing recitals is what I love best. It's my love for the repertoire, the poetry, and the languages that drives my passion to sing recitals. But, it's also the intimate setting -- the comfort with the audience and amongst the performers. There is SO much great music to sing. Sometimes I get excited just thinking about programming -- music I've sung already and would like to perform again or new music I'd like to sing. In my "career" I've sung 9 full solo recitals (I think). That's close to nine hours of music I've studied, interpreted, memorized, and performed for an audience. (That doesn't include, of course, all of the other concerts I've sung on -- solos with choir, new music concerts, early music ensembles, other people's recitals, etc.) There is a lot of rep I've done that I'd like another shot at -- that I think I could sing better now. I should make a list! :-) I guess I have to figure that part of the reason I was so stressed out before this recital had to do with other things -- and with the fact that I had to travel to the site and only had a day to rehearse with the other musicians. But it all worked out really well, so I shouldn't have been so stressed out!! Thank you, Susan and Adrienne!! :-)
When I was a kid, we had one of these:



and one of these:



My brother (mostly) and I (less so) used to write programs like this:



and play games like this (which may look like Pac Man, but is actually KC Munchkin!):



My cousins had a much cooler computer:



on which we played much cooler games:






Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tonight I went to an Evening Prayer service at St. Ignatius (the church I've been going to) and the service involved walking a canvas labyrinth set in the middle of the floor. It was SO cool. I loved it! The canvas labyrinth we used is a replica of the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral in France.

When I got home, I found these daffodils my landlady left for me:



Aren't they pretty? :-)
Well, after my last blog post I was feeling a little like Wimpy McWimperton, so I got my butt out of bed and went running after all. It wasn't a long run, but I'm glad I did it. It was still pretty chilly, but the sunrise was lovely.
So now that my running trail is mostly clear of ice, I thought I'd get up early this morning and go running before I leave for work. The only thing is... I didn't realize it would be pitch black at 6:00am... Oops. I really hadn't given much thought to the flip side of daylight savings. I suppose I could still go run, but the trail is not lit at all, so perhaps this isn't going to work out until the sun rises a little earlier. I guess I'll go back to sleep.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Green

Voici des fruits, des fleurs, des feuilles et des branches,
Et puis voici mon cœur, qui ne bat que pour vous.
Ne le déchirez pas avec vos deux mains blanches,
Et qu’à vos yeux si beaux, l’humble présent soit doux!

J’arrive tout couvert encore de rosée
Que le vent du matin vient glacer à mon front.
Souffrez que ma fatigue, à vos pieds reposée,
Rêve des chers instants qui la délasseront.

Sur votre jeune sein laisser rouler ma tête,
Toute sonore encore de vos derniers baisers;
Laissez-la s'apaiser de la bonne tempête,
Et que je dorme un peu puisque vous reposez.

trans...

Here are fruits, flowers, leaves and branches,
and here, too, is my heart that beats only for you.
Do not destroy it with your two white hands,
and to your lovely eyes may the humble gift seem sweet!

I come still covered with dew
that the morning breeze has chilled on my brow.
Let my weariness, resting at your feet,
dream of dear moments which will bring repose.

On your young breast let me rest my head
still ringing with your last kisses;
let it be appeased after the good tempest,
that I may sleep a little as you rest.

***

This poem by the French poet, Paul Verlaine, serves as the text for two of the songs Susan and I will be performing a week from tonight on our recital in Syracuse, NY. It's interesting that I didn't realize the green connection to St. Patrick's day until just now! Anyway, I thought I would include a link to recordings of both settings that Susan and I recorded in December 2005, while I was still in Madison. There is a huge gap of silence at the beginning of Green 1 (which is the Debussy). Green 2 (the Faure setting) begins much sooner. I hope you enjoy our performances!

Pam and Susan performing
Wanna hear a pretty song? Check out this link:

Lara's MySpace page

(It's Lara and Jeff singing! Country music!! Those crazy kids are always up to something!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

So, I'm writing to complain. I hate to do it, but you're the only one who will listen... :-) So I finally got a job that pays a decent wage. Although I clearly still have to learn how to spend money responsibly, at least now I have money to learn how to spend responsibly... you know what I mean? I'm in my first week of working full-time and here is my complaint -- I feel incredibly sluggish because I'm not getting enough exercise. When I was working at Harvard, although I was so poor I could barely pay my bills (and definitely wouldn't have been able to if it weren't for a very awesome, generous person who totally saved my life), one thing I had was time. So, I could afford the time it took me to walk to work or walk part of the way. But it's not just that, I also had the time and energy to go for a run in the afternoon. And, my job generally required that I run around the library a lot -- up and down stairs many, many times a day. Now I'm killing myself just to try to get ready to leave the house by 7:45am. (I am not a morning person -- at least not usually.) And, I spend 45 minutes in the car both to and from work. And, since I am responsible for answering the phone, I hardly ever leave my desk. Every day so far this week I have planned to go home and do something useful -- like practice for my upcoming recital with Susan or go jogging or anything -- but every day I have failed to do anything but fall asleep. I know what you're going to say. "It's your first week, Pam! You're still getting used to your new schedule! Daylight savings time is coming up and you'll be more motivated when it's light when you leave work! You'll come up with ways to be more active in time! Don't worry - you're not going to get super fat!" And you're right, oh wise blog reader! I need to chill out.

Oh, and PS, I do actually really like my new job.

Monday, March 05, 2007

There has been a lot of wrestling going on this morning! This is the best photo I could get with my phone camera. Phinneas's shaggy muppet hair makes it a little hard to tell which end is which... but there's nothing obscene going on (in this photo anyway...)!



It's pretty fun to have all these dogs around... and kids, too... I'll have to start adding photos of them one of these days!

By the way... the bull dog is Lilly. Phinneas is the afghan. Ollie is the mini poodle.