Friday, June 29, 2007

Auto Pilot

(Blogging is a great way to procrastinate!)

This morning as I was driving to work, I suddenly found that I was on a totally different road than I meant to be on. I was driving along and started noticing familiar landmarks, but ones I don't usually see on my way to work. I think my first alert was Foodmaster. I thought, "Huh... I don't usually see Foodmaster on my way to work. Do I?" Then I passed Park St., where I used to turn to get up to Somerville Ave. Again... Huh...? What road am I on? Am I even going the right direction? It didn't take me that long to realize I was on Beacon Street headed towards Porter Square, which was indeed the direction I wanted to be going, but how I got from Broadway, which is normally the road I take to Harvard Square and then up Mass Ave. to Rte. 2,-- to Beacon St., which is a bit out of the way, was completely beyond me and totally tripped me up. I kept thinking, "How did I get on Beacon St.?" and "Why did I turn wherever I turned to get here?" and "Why don't I remember doing this at all?" I could easily say that I used to take Prospect St. to Beacon St. to Somerville Ave. all the time and I must have just done it on auto pilot because I was tired and not thinking, but I've never lived off Broadway before this month and never been in the habit of turning onto Prospect from Broadway. Still, the thing that fascinates me most is the question, "Why don't I remember turning?" Wouldn't you know, a similar thing happened to me yesterday, actually. I was driving back to Cambridge from work and suddenly realized I was on the road to Walden Pond. I have actually done this before by accident, as in order to stay on Rte. 2 you have to follow a steep curve to the right, which looks very similar to the right turn off, which precedes it, that goes to Walden Pond. But again the question in my mind was why it took me so long to even notice that I had made a wrong turn. I have noticed that stress does funny things to my brain. I become very forgetful, have had bizarro moments of dyslexia at times, find myself completely unable to think of very simple things, become redundant, etc. But, as driving is the most dangerous activity I take part in everyday, I worry that if I'm capable of driving without being "in my body", it's possible I could hit someone or something. I hate driving really. I would much rather walk and would even walk all the way to Sudbury if it wasn't 20 miles (about a 5 hour walk) away. I think it would surely be safer...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Nature Documentary by Jack Handey
Ok dokey... So, I guess nobody likes doing my writing challenges. :-( Any other suggestions for Wednesday fun?

So JAKE is the winner of this week's quiz! CONGRATULATIONS! #7 is a PURPLE finch, by the way. (Believe it or not.) Email me your address and I will send you chocolate! :-)

Class is going fine so far. I've had one class and one section so far and I'm still alive! And, I'm singing in the summer choir, so that's fun. And, I'm starting to rehearse an opera about George Sand and Chopin (in which I play the former), so that's interesting...

Monday, June 25, 2007

i've decided that since i'm starting school this week, i'm going to post all the posts i normally would post for the whole week today - backwards!! - so you can read them in "order". i won't plan to check the blog until the end of the week, so take your time if you want to participate!! talk to you soon! HAVE FUN! :-)
Quiz time!!! -
Name that bird!!










writing challenge!!

write a tanka poem. basically it's 5-7-5 / 7-7.

here's my try:

there's blue sky outside
the sunshine warms up the earth
flowers are blooming

i am inside in the cold
looking long out the window
Getting to know you:

1. are you wearing a coat or sweater because you're chilly?

2. what are you sitting on? are you at a desk?

3. is there music on right now where you are? if so, what is it?

4. what kind of mood are you in now? has it been the same all day - or has it fluctuated?

5. what's the nicest thing anyone said to you in the last 24 hours?

(my answers: 1. yes; 2. an office chair. yes; 3. yes; WBER - "the only station that matters" playing through itunes on my computer; 4. i feel ok. i was in kind of a bad mood when i got to work, but i feel better since i put music on; 5. paraphrased, "you have a really lovely voice. it's really warm. that's so unusual.")
Controversy Monday!

I have felt for a while now that there is something morally wrong with breeding domesticated companion animals, when so many animals end up in shelters and millions of them are euthanized each year. I understand that there are certain animals which are bred for particular reasons - because they make excellent seeing eye dogs, rescue dogs, or police/drug-sniffing dogs - and it seems reasonable to me to continue with those practices. But, I think the majority of animal breeding is done for selfish reasons that, I think, generally increases suffering. And, I don't see any reason why a person seeking an animal companion can't find a suitable one at a shelter. What do you think?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

This afternoon I walked up to the Harvard campus to get my Summer School ID card. I'll be taking a class there two nights a week for 8 weeks starting Tuesday. I am used to having my last name misspelled, but I just noticed that my ID card, which is actually only a temporary one, spells my first name "PAMEA". :-) I spent part of the walk back considering all of the other things I could have bought with the very large sum of money I spent on this class: plane tickets to foreign destinations, a new computer, a digital camera, a new wardrobe, an iPod, etc. but finally came to peace with the idea that education is worth much more than any of that. I hope so.

(**Happy Birthday, Dad and Uncle Donald!**)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer Solstice, everybody!!

Here in Boston:

Sunrise 5:07am; Sunset 8:24pm; Sunny... 75F

Pretty sweet!
Getting to Know You Questionnaire

1. Where are you?
2. What's the weather like?
3. What kind of shoes do you have on?
4. Did you drink caffeine this morning?
5. What's next?

(My answers: 1. In my bedroom in Cambridge, MA; 2. Yahoo says it's 68 (high of 80). Sky looks blue and sunny out my window; 3. No shoes on; 4. Nope; 5. Get dressed and get to work! I'm running late (as usual)!)
Well... it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's STORY CHALLENGE WEDNESDAY!! (I'm trying something new here...)

Here are the rules:

Add on to the story where I left off in whatever way you choose - one paragraph at a time. You can contribute more than one paragraph, but you can't contribute two paragraphs in a row. Also, you are free to suggest a new title for the story at any time. I will try to keep up with your additions and edit the original post so that it reflects the most updated version of the story.

Here we go:

"Jesper and the Angry Donkey" - by Pam and friends

"OUCH!" she cried suddenly. "Why did you DO that?"
"I don't know," he said. "Just felt like it, I guess."
She got up and walked quickly to the other side of the room.
"You really could have hurt me, you know."
"I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked.
"Let me see," he reached out and gestured for her to come back to him.
"No," she sulked, "Leave me alone."

Just then everything went black. The floor began to vibrate, gradually increasing in intensity until suddenly the ground split open, shooting the pair into an open abyss.

They weren't sure if they were still falling or if they had landed somewhere. It was like they were floating weightless. All was totally dark except for a dim green light emanating from each of their bodies, which allowed them to see just each other.

"Where are we?" she asked.
"I don't know," he said. "Where is this light coming from?" he asked, looking down at his chest.

She floated towards him to look more closely at the green light. As she moved, she noticed that there was some sort of cord connecting the light in his chest to her own.

And as she moved closer to him, the light became brighter and an intense warmth radiating in her own chest became stronger. She felt a great sense of peace and immediately fell asleep.

"OUCH!" Jesper cried, suddenly waking to see her friend, Donkylu, standing at the side of her bed pinching her arm. "Stop it!" she laughed sleepily.

"I've been trying to wake you for an hour!" he said. "It's time for us to go!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Andre wins!!

(Andre - please email me your address so I can send you some chocolate! Unless, of course, you don't like chocolate, in which case I'll send you something else!)

The correct answers are:

1. e (Mary Oliver) - Wild Geese
2. c (Hafiz)
3. h (Edna St. Vincent Millay) - Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain...
4. b (Anne Sexton) - Snow, blessed snow, comes out of the sky like bleached flies...
5. f (Jean Lahor) - Chanson triste
6. a (Paul Verlaine) - Green (both Susan and I posted this!!)
7. e (Mary Oliver) - The Journey
8. g (Robert Frost) - Choose Something Like a Star
9. d (Joni Mitchell) - A Case of You (Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling, and I would still be on my feet...)
10. c (Hafiz)


Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Don't ya love it?

Match the quote with the writer:
(the prize is chocolate!)


1. "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

2. "If this world Was not held in God's bucket How could an ocean stand upside down On its head and never lose a drop?"

3. "Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone"

4. "Today God gives milk and I have the pail."

5. "Et pour fuir la vie importune, Je me noierai dans ta clarté."

6. "Voici des fruits, des fleurs, des feuilles, et des branches, Et puis voici mon cœur qui ne bat que pour vous."

7. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice --"

8. "O Star (the fairest one in sight)"

9. "You are in my blood like holy wine. You taste so bitter and so sweet."

10."It Is all Just a love contest And I never Lose. Now you have another good reason To spend more time With Me."

a. Verlaine, Paul
b. Sexton, Anne
c. Hafiz
d. Mitchell, Joni
e. Oliver, Mary
f. Lahor, Jean
g. Frost, Robert
h. St. Vincent Millay, Edna

Monday, June 18, 2007


It was last summer, I think around this time, although I can't be sure because my Google calendar doesn't go back that far and I can't even remember how I kept track of my schedule before. I was living at home with my Mom and working for a local peace organization. My friend, Aly, invited me to a dinner at the co-op house of a co-worker of his, a fellow staff member at the other peace organization in town -- the bigger, older, more radical one. I was told the dinner would be almost all, if not entirely, made from their organic garden. We set up tables outside - the weather was perfect and the bugs weren't too bad. The dinner, a variety of vegetarian delicacies, was delicious. We spent a good amount of time discussing a number of controversial topics over dinner and wine, including the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, vegetarianism and cruelty to animals, and a topic I brought up single-handedly -- white male arrogance. For whatever reason I was feeling especially heated about the topic that evening. I was feeling really annoyed about the fact that I couldn't seem to find a single white male friend who was willing to admit that he was privileged in our society -- that he was more confident about his opinions and maybe even a bit arrogant because he had never really faced the kind of adversities that others face. It was one particular guest at the dinner table who set me off. It was really just the way he expressed his opinions, as though they really just couldn't be wrong. I admit I was kind of an ass about the whole thing and surely alienated the guy just by the way I brought up the topic, but it really just pissed me off that he wasn't even willing to admit that his skin color gave him some privilege -- or had given him some privilege up until that point that had made him into a more confident individual. I suppose I was thinking a lot about my friend, Aly, a dark-skinned black man, who, once while walking down the street in Chicago, was accosted by police and pinned to the ground while they searched his bag, because he looked similar to a person suspected of dealing drugs or something. I remember him pointing out the irony that he had a book about Gandhi in his bag. I remember the sound of his voice breaking a bit as he told me that they didn't even apologize when they realized he was the wrong person, but rather left him with a look on their faces indicating that they might not have caught him this time, but they'd get him the next time. I think that was the worst of the stories he told me. There were others. I can't even imagine what that must have been like. Aly is an incredibly intelligent, mellow, thoughtful person. I know there are exceptions to every rule (I do know many white men who I would certainly not call arrogant, though it is rare to find one who is not very confident about his opinions), but do you feel that white men are generally more confident than other people and if so, do you attribute it to the fact that white men are a privileged class of people? Why or why not? Let's dig!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Some point
Your relationship
With God
Become like this:

Next time you meet Him in the forest
Or on a crowded city street

There won't be anymore


That is,

God will climb into
Your pocket.

You will simply just take



- Hafiz
(thanks again for the book, Ian)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I was going to write something, but I don't really feel like I have anything to say. Or, I suppose the truth is that I have a ton of things spinning around in my head, but nothing coherent enough to write about. Maybe I'll try again later. My roommate's boyfriend is leaving town to go back to Paris and she's having a little going away party for him tonight (at his apartment). I'm excited to go and meet new people and maybe even speak a little French?, but the truth is that I've been finding it difficult to navigate social situations (where I don't know anyone well) without alcohol and simultaneously finding that every time I drink even one beer lately I end up feeling very depressed and out of sorts in the aftermath. It's a dilemma for sure. I suppose I may end up not staying very long. I did rent a movie that I could watch instead - and I have a book to finish, too. But then again, maybe I will meet some interesting people and not feel socially awkward at all. Here's hoping!

** SO... I got lost and never made it there. I did a google map for his address in Boston instead of Brookline and it took me to the wrong address and I never was able to figure out how to get there. I think Boston was voted the most difficult city in the US to navigate at one point. There are many reasons for that. Oh well!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Still Getting to Know You - Short Questionnaire

1. Who was your first pet?
2. What was the address your parents took you home to after your birth
(number & street name)?
3. Where did you go on your first trip in an airplane?
4. Where did you go on your most recent trip in an airplane?
5. What is your favorite weather?

(My answers: 1. Spotty (a dalmation); 2. 45 Sherry Dr.; 3. Syracuse to Orlando on Eastern Airlines (I think); 4. Boston to San Jose on Jet Blue; 5. Sunny skies, ~70F)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today, I challenge you to write a sonnet!

Here's my stab at it:

Sonnet I

When in the night, my gmail sounds its bell,
and rouses me from dreams of distant lands,
I find a message hovers o'er my hands,
that seeks my comfort only for to tell.
But when I type my fingers cannot quell
the fury of my Apple's flaming fans,
whose wrath is soothed by wisdom of no man,
who keeps my message in its seeded hell!
My anguish knows only my heart's own cage!
It boils my blood and burns my innards all!
Its torments rage all through the winds around
and heeds not even common sense's call!
She opens not the next nor near next page!
Her brains remain responsive to no sound!

(Thanks for the suggestion, Jake!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It looks like Steph is the winner!! (I'll get your address from Susan so I can send you your chocolate!)

To be honest, I did this quiz from memory and haven't done any research to verify my answers, so I'll tell you what I think the answers are (except #10 - I never knew the answer to that one! :)) Let me know if I'm wrong!

#1 - Holden Caulfield hates PHONIES!!
#2 - I was thinking it was the timpani... but I don't really know... I suppose I could listen to it, but whenever I open itunes, my computer runs really, really slowly... (I'll fix it! I swear! Or get a new computer...)
#3 - what Steph said!
#4 - I just want to add a few more favorites: A Room With a View (Forster), War and Peace (Tolstoy), Dubliners (Joyce)...
#5 - I confess, I've never read it either... It just sits there looking pretty.
#6, #7, #8, #9 - what Steph said!
#10 - I think it's somewhere in China

(This quiz would be more fun if you didn't google the answers. Don't you think? :-))

1. What kind of people does Holden Caulfield hate?

2. Which instrument(s) musically illustrate(s) a beheading in Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique?

3. Whose head on a platter was given as a gift to Salome?

4. Name 3 novels (title and author) in which female characters are found singing and/or playing the piano.

5. What author wrote a book comparing a great composer, a great artist, and a great mathematician?

6. In what movie does one find coconuts used in lieu of a horse?

7. What event is usually cited as the inspiration for the exoticism that developed in Western music in the early 20th century?

8. Which character is most adamant about avenging his father's death in "the Princess Bride"?

9. Who is the host of "The Daily Show"?

10. What city is hosting this summer's Olympic Games?

Monday, June 11, 2007

What is "real freedom"? I was reading a sermon from a couple of weeks ago by Father Sam Lloyd, who is one of my favorite people in the world and who used to be the rector of Trinity Church when I was a soloist there a few years ago. He's now Dean of Washington National Cathedral and I have been in the habit for a while of reading his sermons which are posted on their website. The title of his sermon from May 20, 2007 is Real Freedom. It's a great sermon (as his sermons always are), but it occurred to me that it might also be a great jumping off point for an interesting conversation. What is real freedom? After reading Sam's words, I decided to do a google search to see what some other folks have to say about it.

Here are the first two articles my google search returned:

Inner Freedom is Real Freedom
Real Freedom

When I think of freedom, I often initially think of being alone. When I was a kid, I couldn't wait until everyone was gone and I was alone in the house. I felt a major weight off - a sense of relief - like I was finally free - and if I couldn't find that inside, I would climb the tree in the back yard. I have often associated the word freedom with a lack of responsibility or obligation (as the Beatles said: "Oh that magic feeling - nowhere to go"), but have noticed in more recent years that being alone has lost some of its charm. I think I will always have times when being alone makes me feel great - and free, but I recognize more now that I have a tendency to isolate myself and that doesn't make me feel free at all. I also associate freedom now with being with friends who accept me totally as I am - who like me when I am totally myself (as strange as that may be). I also associate freedom with travelling to new places.

I imagine freedom means very different things to different people. What does the word freedom mean to you? Are you free? What would make you more free?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hey - remember that canoe I showed you that some of the kids were working on a few months ago? Well, it's finished and it's beautiful!!

I'm SO impressed!!
Questionnaire (still getting to know you...)

1. What book(s) are you reading?
2. What was the last party you went to? How was it?
3. What was the last movie you saw at the theatre? How did you like it?
4. What was the last card game you played?
5. What was the last music concert you attended? How was it?
6. What was the last meal you ate?
7. Is there a piano in your house?
8. Do you use an alarm clock? (besides your cat :-)) Does it play music or beep?
9. Have you ever been to Ireland?
10. Have you ever been to Australia?

(my answers: 1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Clarke); 2. At my boss's house last night - it was pretty fun; 3. Pirates of the Carribean - At World's End - it was ok, but it was long and I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would; 4. Set; 5. Harvard Collegium-Musicum a week ago - it was quite good; 6. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich for breakfast this morning; 7. No; 8. Yes - beeps; 9. No, but I flew over it; 10. No - not even close.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Getting To Know You (Installment #1)

What does it take to wake you up in the morning?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ok, so I have been thinking it would be fun to make a different theme for each week day on my blog - for a while anyway...

I was thinking... Controversy MONDAY (in which I ignite a heated debate about something), Quiz TUESDAY (in which I post a quiz and give a prize to the winner), and today I'm starting...


I challenge you to write a limerick!!

Here's my try...

I once had a friend named Dolores
who was happiest singing in chorus
she sang loud and clear
in the bar with her beer
and her favorite llama named Morris

How 'bout you?

PS - (I haven't decided what the themes will be for Thursday and Friday yet...)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The theme of this quiz is world religions! The winner gets chocolate (or something else if you don't like chocolate)!! You have until 5pm Wednesday to turn in your answers. :-)

1. What are the five abstentions important to Yoga practice?

2. What are the Ten Commandments?

3. What is the noble eightfold path of Buddhism (name the parts)?

4. What is the Golden Rule in Christianity?

5. Name 3 of the principal Upanishads

6. What are the five pillars of Islam?

7. Is Confucianism a religion?

8. What does "catholic" mean?

9. What were Martin Luther's views on the Eucharist?

10. What is a pastafarian?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I LOVE my new digs!