Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays...

I have fallen in love with the South, yet again.  It happens every time I come home.  Is it the warm weather that I find irresistible?  Or the charming town folk who know your name even though you've been gone for almost 4 years?  Or is it the close proximity of an amazing family (two sides now) that make you feel loved unconditionally?  The insanely good home cooked food?  Friendlier drivers?  Big, green trees?  The list goes on and on.  Yes, I must admit that my dream would be to move back down to Houston.  Maybe Vidor.  Maybe in between.  I just miss it--ironically, because 4 years ago I swore I would never live here again.  Turns out I'm a country girl at heart, and no matter how flashy the city life may be, I can't ever make that feel like home.  We'll have to see where Matt gets a job.

How exciting!  We graduate in 4 months.  I can't believe my undergraduate degree is almost done!  There is this magical feeling--one that makes you feel like something big is about to happen, but you just don't know what yet.  Kind of like that song on West Side Story that Tony sings, at the very beginning...his first song.  I can't remember what it's called, but it's exactly how I feel.  I'm filled with excitement and enthusiasm.  Sometimes its frustrating, not having a written out 5-year plan.  This will probably be good for me--teach me some patience. 

I am bound and determined to:
  1. Finish Heros before the break is over.
  2. Read ALL the Harry Potter books before the last movie comes out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Musings

So, I'm done with finals.  I can't believe it!  I made it through!  And the Lord showed me many tender mercies through times of confusion in the testing center.  Seriously, I tend to have more anxiety about taking tests than I should, and when I get into the testing center, I forget things that I crammed learned.  The only time I remember everything is when I spend about 20 hours studying for a test.  Fancy that!  To actually study for a test like I would practice for a performance?  Well, not even as much as I would practice...less than that!  Unfortunately the flute perfectionist in me won't allow that to happen.  If I'm studying more than I'm practicing, I feel guilty.  Hah!  Look what a performance degree has done to me!

Now that I'm finished, and when I'm not scratching my head thinking of what due dates that I have that don't exist, I am getting more and more addicted to the show Heros (old, I know, but who has time to watch a T.V. show when you're in lawschool/music school?) while clinging to Matt's arm and trying desperately hard not to have nightmares from it, yet not admitting that the show is probably causing them, but I can't stop watching it because it's so riveting!  Yeah, I like to torture myself.  When it's not 6 hours a day in the dungeon of the HFAC, or slaving away at graduate school applications, or making a list of all the things that I should be better at that I don't have time for, it's in front of the television: this magic black box in the middle of my living room that is such a mystery to me because I never spend time with it.  I still am amazed at how electronic things work.  But I don't have time to learn about them.  Should I be sad?  Sometimes I am.  But then I remember that I'm a 21-year-old DRAMA QUEEN, ranting and raving about how I will never get to learn about science because I'm too old.  Yeah, school is messing me up.  For real.  ;)

Wow, I look at what I write and my thoughts seem crazy and jumbled.  It's probably because that's how I think.  I also notice how I never post any pictures.  I do take pictures, probably not as often as I should, but I do take them.  I think I don't post them as much because I'm afraid that if I always post the pictures that I take on the internet, Matt won't let me take as many pictures of him.  He's a lot more private about his life than I am--at least pictures of himself.  If the picture is flattering, and it's not going to some nasty site, I'm find with people seeing me look good.  It must be the diva in me.

We leave for Texas in just a few short days, and I can't wait to get out of this dad gum SNOW!  What is it with these Northern people?  They like to romanticize about the "moisture" and pray for more snow in opening prayers!  What the CRAZY?!  It's like praying for car accidents, or a broken tailbone from slipping in the ice.  I'll even see people talking about snow with their dreamy faces, like they are reminiscing on a wonderful chocolate truffle they once tried.  They'll sigh and wish for the snow to stay.  Gross.  I'll never understand it.  What's worse is when my friends from Texas wish there was snow.  I used to think snow was cool, for the first like, 20 minutes.  And then I was greeted with a friendly *kerSPLAT* and there went my affection for it.  As a friend of mine put it once, "Snow looks nice on a postcard.  It can stay there."

I am extremely excited for my schedule next semester.  You know you've been in school too long when you're excited to not have any obligations until 12pm.  You know you've been a music major too long when you're excited for all of that extra PRACTICE TIME.  Yes, I'm feeling better about the flute today.  Not sayin' it'll stay that way, but at least I'm still pressing forward.  It must be because of my lovely quartet rehearsal.  Nothing like a good Mozart quartet with excellent BYU string players to brighten your mood, especially if they are going to make you sound great on your recital.  Win.

The Chamber Orchestra is doing their tour this year in China.  It's not that I'm not excited.  But after my near-kidnapping in Paris last year (even after watching that dreaded movie "Taken") I tend to get a little queasy with the idea of going to a foreign country touring around and accidently getting lost.  Yeah, I tend to do that too.  Too bad Nicole isn't here anymore to tease me about it.

Alright, I'm hungry again.  I'll make something healthy, like tilapia.  My husband likes it when I cook healthy YUMMY food.  :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hypoglycemia's Inconveniences

The more I learn about people, the more I find that everyone has little quirks about their bodies.  Sleep apnea, bad knees, thyroid disorders, intense PMS, etc.  I fall under the category of hypogycemia.  I know there are worse conditions out there, believe you me.  I am so grateful for the fact that I have hypoglycemia and not something else. 

The truth is, I don't know too much about this particular disorder.  I'm not sure it's much of a disorder, at least the degree that I suffer from it.  All I know is that I'm starving quite often and my body is very particular about not ever being hungry.  If I ever get to the point of being hungry, I'm starving.  It's either full or starving...nothing in between.

This provides for some problems.  I am not always available 100% of the time to drop what I'm doing and eat food.  Eating food requires time, money, and if you want to be doing anything with your hands after, you have to wash your hands.  Since I have to eat like a bajillion times a day, I have to wash my hands a bajillion times a day, thus leaving my hands extra dry and cracked for the winter season.  Yessssssssssssssssss

Also, if you have to be available for appointments such as visiting teaching, music lessons, and class, it doesn't always work to have your eating schedule be different from "normal people's."

"Just bring snacks with you," you might say.  Yes, that's what I do a lot of the time.  But to find time to pack healthy snacks that aren't going to make you blow up like a balloon from exessive carbs is actually a little more time consuming than it should be.  Also, if I don't eat enough meat or protein, it only keeps me full for about 30 minutes.

I know I've blogged about this before, but I decided to do it again, considering it has presented itself to be a problem as of late.  Especially when other people can't understand when I can't eat when and like "normal people do."  I'm sorry, world, if I've inconvenienced you in any way.  Please try to be understanding that I have to eat more often and at different times than most people, especially when I'm busy and I'm burning tons of calories at the gym and sprinting across campus multiple times a day to meet deadlines.  At least over the Christmas break I can be laid back and maybe my body will cooperate with me more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Report Break

My mind is on fire, and so I thought a little blogging might help distract me.  Goodness knows, I'm not one who needs more distractions.  The truth is, I'm very good at finding them, whether it's facebook, online recipe browsing, or daydreaming about what my life would be like if I wasn't pursuing the flute.  I'm thinking a lot about that lately, and it's beginning to scare me.  What scares me even more is the idea of not having a 5-year plan for the future.  Here's a thought for you.  Is it good to live your life that way?  What about is it right to live your life that way?  I'm convinced that these are two different, yet comparable questions of difficult questions.

I'm sure the right answer is: "It's neither wrong or right."  Or better yet, "Moderation in all things."  Well you know what?  I'm kind of sick of the prophecy-like fortune telling that doesn't give me anything but MORE OPTIONS.  Seriously!  I could be a doctor, a dietician, a nurse, a musician (already on my way), a computer scientist, an engineer, a teacher....*sigh*....the list goes on and on.  I also don't know why this makes me so sad.  Isn't it good to have the world in your hands?  Shouldn't it be exhilirating to feel like I could do/be anything?

One concern is that I don't want to give up what I have going for me.  I love playing the flute.  But sometimes I feel a bit trapped.  This is all I do right now.  I feel like other parts of my brain and soul are reaching out to me, crying, "spend more time with me!"  And I desperately want to!  I just don't want to waste any time.  Somehow I can't get the whole live-each-day-as-if-it-were-your-last philosophy out of my head.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I can't even decide for myself...and that's what frustrates me.  I have no opinion...or I have all opinions.

One friend recently gave me a wonderful bit of advice.  I left the advice thinking that I should just try everything (as in, applying for things) and see what options I actually HAVE instead of make-believe options that are in my life right now.  It'll apparently clear things up so I can actually identify what I feel.  I'm having a hard time doing that right now.  So, I think I'll try it.  If I apply to graduate schools and Matt gets a job somewhere I can't get a graduate degree, then it's time to do something else.

Another concern is that sometimes I feel like I am defined by the flute.  Apart from the gospel, I don't really have anything that defines who I am.  I'm Amber the flute player.  And I do what?  Let's see...practice, go to class, practice, eat, practice, spend time with Matt, practice, sleep, and more practice.  When I'm not doing that, I'm thinking of a good recital program, researching graduate school application requirements, and trying to find things to buff up my resume' and musical experience.  Am I just not allowed to do other stuff?  Apparently so!  There isn't enough time.

You know that feeling that you had in high school, or maybe even freshman year of college (or even later than that) where you thought "Hm.  What should I be?  It's probably a good time to decide what I think I'd be good at."  I never really had that opportunity.  I was compelled to believe that flute was the only thing that I could ever be great at.  I never got to step back and think of other options.  Flute was something that I did competitively since I was 12 years old...and I was good at it.  I'd like to think that I'm still good at it, and that I still will be good at it. 

But what about the other stuff?  Could I be a good writer like my friend Camille?  A good dancer like my husband?  A good cook?  Could I be good at math, something that always terrified me? 

These questions haunt me daily, and leave me thinking that I have to choose between one and the other.  Can I be good at many things?  Well, any time that I give to other things is time that I am not giving to the flute.  And if a flutist is what I am to become, then why get distracted?

I feel like a high school kid in a college girl's body, except that I almost have a degree that I don't know what to do with.  I absolutely love playing the flute, and I think that was in large part due to the opportunities I had to experience the wonders of music.  Does that mean that I would find anything else less enjoyable?  Some say yes, others say no.  But what do I think?  I HAVE NO IDEA.  I want to explore, like I didn't get to do before.  I don't want to quit playing the flute.  I want to continue learning and bettering myself at it.  Goodness knows I've learned more from my flute experiences than just flute playing.  I've learned to not be nervous in front of an audience, or better yet, judges.  I've learned to present myself well, and I've learned how to handle myself under high stress situations.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I just want to know what else is out there.

The other problem is that tomorrow I'll probably be going, "What the heck was I talking about?  I am happy where I am and that's that."  It changes so frequently.  Luckily I have the support of a loving husband who listens to me complain about how "hard" my wonderful life is, and how I am so confused about what to do.  He helps me learn to be patient, which is something I need to get better at.

Alright alright.  I'm procrastinating.  This stupid 307 book report needs to go.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Need a Diversion

You know those days (particularly the week or two before finals/juries) where you wake up and think, "Crap!  There is too much to do and if I plan on getting it all done, I can't have a moment of downtime!"  Trust me, its especially difficult if your body is fighting for it's help and you are required to give it 8-9 hours of sleep EVERY night or else it will, in the words of Stephen Covey, "compel you to do so."  Anyway, I'm in the middle of one of those excruciatingly stressful periods, consisting of intense longing for down time.



And...it's back to work.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thoughts

Thoughts as of late:

I'm growing up.  For real this time.  When you're a small girl, "growing up" meant that you could change your clothes by yourself and tie your shoes.  When you're a teenager, "growing up" meant that you could go through a hard day and not let it affect the way you treated your little brother.  As you mature into an adult, you learn how to do your own laundry, cook your own food, (hopefully) manage your own budget, and pay for your own bills.  You do your own homework when you're supposed to and you drive yourself places.  (I'm still working on that one.)  You take responsibility for your actions, and you learn how to fix your own problems.

There is a new level of being an adult that I've never really known about.  And I feel like I've had to discover it the hard way, because when other people would try to tell me, I wouldn't believe them.  I thought that they were just being jaded and pessimistic.  I'm not trying to say that life sucks, because it DOESN'T.  But you do need to know a few things to make it through unscarred, or at least with minute scars.  And I don't think that I'm jaded or pessimistic.  Just wiser.

In order to survive in a highly competitive market and not get stomped on, you have to be able to hold your own.  There are some of those (myself included) who hate hurting other people's feelings, even to the point of hurting ourselves so that others won't be inconvenienced.  That's all well and good in some circumstances, but when opportunities for your career are on the line, and there are others being unjust to you, it just won't work to be that way all the time.  It's a really tough lesson to learn, and it's never easy.  Good news is that most of the time, there is a way to keep things professional and civil without getting immature.

I won't go into any specifics.  I'm also very grateful that I'm at an institution like BYU where you don't see too much of that.  Still though, it's good to be prepared if you plan on having a job one day.  If you have a good set up, don't make the mistake of thinking that someone isn't going to want what you have.  Sadly, and unfortunately, it's just the way it is.

On a more hopeful note, may everyone looking for jobs in competitive markets be blessed by the Lord in finding something that they love as well as something that will sustain the needs of their family.  We can't give up!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Favorite Videos

I've been looking through some of my old videos, and I came across this one.  This is why I miss my family.  Spontaneous, random interactions that have to do with some kind of performance.  Nobody even said "let's do this."  It just sort of happened over Christmas break last year.

video

And the ever famous closing night of the opera.  Let me tell you.  Erica and I were SO READY to be done!


video



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can I just say?

Can I just say how much I appreciate you avid bloggers who post interesting stories and pictures for me to read and laugh about?  I just took a look at my piddly blog and read some old entries.  I feel ashamed.  I complain way too much--can I just say that, too?  Me being a perfectionist/planner/red personality/forward looking person, I tend to want answers and want them NOW.  Well, at least I'm self aware.  But being self aware doesn't necessarily change my tendancies.  I want to know what is going to happen after graduation.  I want to know if I should minor in Computer Science or not (I really am interested--you have my leave to laugh.)  I want to know if Matt will find a job in Utah or Texas, or wherever else.  I want to know if I should get a masters.  I want to know if my hair will ever grow any faster.  Gosh, I have never felt so confused.  At least in high school I knew that I wanted to be a flute performance major and there was never any question about it.  I knew I wanted to come to BYU.  I knew that I would live in Provo.  I wasn't sure if I would get married, but luckily I found the PERFECT guy and so that all worked itself out. 

Can I also say that I am so grateful for a kind, supportive, hilarious, good looking husband who will dress up with me and make me laugh when I'm stressed out?  Seriously, I would be a wreck without him.



Halloween was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crazy

The only reason why I have time to blog right now is because our Phil rehearsal was canceled due to the Homecoming Spectacular dress rehearsal this evening.  Otherwise I would be in the practice rooms, picking my soul away with the metronome. 

My parents were in town today and yesterday.  We just dropped my brother off at the MTC a couple of hours ago.  I won't say that I wasn't a little emotional, but I'm so proud of the guy.  Out of all of my siblings, Spencer was the one that gave me the most grief growing up.  But over the past couple of years, we have grown to be very close.  He was even able to go to my sealing.  I will miss him.

Here are my activities for the week:

  • Wednesday (today):  class, practicing and dress rehearsal until 9pm, homework, grading.  It never stops!
  • Thursday: wake up, practice, teach lab, class, shopping (I need socks), practicing, homework, practicing, Homecoming Spectacular until 9:30pm, homework, grading.
  • Friday: wake up, practicing, class, practicing, chamber orchestra, practicing, flute choir, practicing, Homecoming Spectacular until 9:30pm, homework, grading.
  • Saturday: Don't get me started.
Do I ever get to go to the gym?!  It's either sleep or gym.  I hate choosing.  I'm feeling a little like I'm burning the candle at both ends.  It's kind of how I live my typical fall semester.  I have Homecoming Spectacular all week this week, Opera for a week and a half (7pm-10pm every night), MTNA, concerto competition (still deciding if I should do that or not), recordings for NFA and graduate schools, not to mention my mountain of homework I am behind on, papers I have to write, and thank-you cards I need to get going on.  I feel as if my life is being lived for me sometimes, and I am just going through the motions.  I don't even have room in my planner to write down everything I need to do for the day.  But I chose this.  I signed up for this.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  6 more months and I will be graduated.  I can do it!

Endure to the end.  Even when it's hard.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Be My Friend?

Something I was thinking about today, and many days in the past:  I am not trying to have a pity party over here.  Goodness knows, especially from my last post, how good my life is.  I am so blessed, and way lucky.  However, one of the adjustments to married life has given me the opportunity to look at my friendships.  They say that when you get married, no matter how popular you were before, your relatiohships with your old friends change slightly.  This is true...and even though I am so busy and hardly have any extra time to squeeze into my schedule, it can get a little lonely in the dungeon of the HFAC sometimes.

I have always made a point to appear confident.  I walk in such a way as to let those around me that I have swagger...ok maybe not swagger, but I am happy with myself and how my life is turning out.  It can come across as stuck up sometimes, as I'm beginning to realize, and I don't mean to do that at all.  Truth be told, I still need friends.  Just because I'm married and I live with my best friend in the whole wide world, doesn't mean that I can't use a little girl-bonding every now and then.  For those of you who have not disowned me since I've been married, I really do appreciate you.  Occasionally I'll be stopped in the hall by an old friend and asked how I am doing, with no other motive than just pure friendship.  When that happens, I kind of want to cry a little out of gratitude.  A friend gave me a ride home from school today, and that meant a lot.  Sometimes in a world of success and failure, hard work, and accomplishment, it's easy to get lost in it and forget how important relationships are.  It's also easy to feel like you have to watch your back when you're doing really well at something.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  As soon as I put down my flute, I want nothing more than to talk to somebody, and to laugh about something trivial.  For those of you who may not know me that well because you might think I wouldn't have much of an interest in being your friend, please know that this is not the case.  I really do want to connect with you and learn more about you.  Maybe I'm having withdrawalls since my dear friends Nicole and McKenzie both left on their missions.  This is good though.  It gives me an opportunity to make new friends.  I just wish that I was better at it.  It's scary sometimes...feeling like the new kid at school with a bad haircut.  I don't have a bad haircut, but I think everyone feels self-conscious sometimes about silly things.  I am grateful for the opportunity to get over it, but it's still not as easy as one would think.  In high school I was such a shy kid, and it still comes out sometimes.

Moral of the story, I want to be your friend, whoever you are out there.  :)  Thank you so much for reading.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Good Life

I was very much inspired by President Monson's talk on Gratitude.  I loved the story about lil' "Gordon's" family on that Thanksgiving where all they had to eat was a jackrabbit and some turnips.  When the children refused to eat the food, the dad, instead of chastening them for being ungrateful, went into the attick and grabbed an oil lamp.  He told them to turn out the electric lights, and all of a sudden the children remembered what it was like to live off of the oil lamps.  It seemed so dim. 

Let us all take this time to realize the blessings that we have, even if we don't have as much as our neighbors next door.  Everyone goes through their hard times, and if we live within our means, our hard times won't last so long.

I'm grateful for:
  • First, the Gospel in my life.  The love my Heavenly Father continuously pours into the lives of me and my family.  The everlasting atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • My new family.  My darling husband.  How lucky I got when I found him and was able to keep him forever.
  • A roof over my head.  A bed to sleep on.  Food in my refrigerator.  ENOUGH food.
  • Good health (so far.)  A good body that does what I want it to when I want it to.
  • A good opportunity for an education at BYU.
  • My musical talent.  An opportunity to continue cultivating it.
  • Loving friends and family.
The list goes on and on.  One of my first music teachers taught me to keep a "gratitude journal" for when those times just seemed too stressful to cope with.  At the time of utmost stress, the LAST thing you want to do is write down all the things that you love about yourself and what you're grateful for.  But it's kind of like praying for your enemies.  The second you do, you start to dislike them a little less.

I don't have a WHOLE lot of time today, so I'll write down my recent activities.
  • The usual practicing my rear-end off every SINGLE day.
  • Instrumental Showcase went quite well.  I was surprised at how much better I am at not getting nervous in orchestral concerts; particularly in the sections where I am unsure about the technique and if my muscle memory will pull through.  But most importantly, I enjoyed it and was inspired and uplifted by the music.
  • Working out!  I'm doing free-weights, and apart from EMBARRASSING myself next to all of these roiders who look like they walked out of a body building magazine, I am progressively improving my strength.  My cardio is getting better, too.  Who knows?  Maybe one day I'll make myself do a race.  AFTER competition though.  I'm not THAT crazy.  Goodness.  I will say though, that I'm really liking these muscles that are sprouting up so quickly.  My husband occasionally points out how lucky I am.  Apparently my body responds VERY well to training, and I see results a lot more quickly than most people do.  I guess that's something that I can add to my gratitude list.  Who would of thought?  The soft-bellied musician is getting ABS!  Watch out body builders!
  • I am slowly but surely getting used to driving Matt's car.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good car.  But I am the biggest fraidy cat on the road you'll ever see.  I see this as an improvement.  I just have to remember to turn the headlights on when it gets dark.  I didn't have to do that on my old car...eheh.  Yeah I can be dangerous sometimes.  Watch out for me on 9th.
  • Cooking!  I don't have a WHOLE lot of time to do it, but I am successfully cooking just about every day for dinner.  I find that we eat more healthily and we get more nutrients that we need!
Goodnight y'all.  I'm off to bed so that I can wake up at 4.  Yee-haw!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Health = Important

It's amazing how much better you feel when you actually get your 8-9 hours of sleep, or your exercise each day...that makes you feel great too.  Why is it that we'll put off taking care of our bodies, but just HAVE to make time for that last episode of whatever show we're currently following?  When we're 90 years old, do we want to be that old person who wishes they could just die because they're in so much pain?  Or do we want to be that old person who doesn't want to die just yet so that we can enjoy that one last breath of fresh air on a Sunday morning?

My problem is that I used to pack so much in my life all at once that I didn't leave enough time to cook nourishing meals, go to the gym, or get enough sleep.  I thought, "Ah, I can take 17 credits, practice 30 hours a week, hold up a part-time job, and do my calling.  I can even watch Dancing with the Stars."  As soon as I realized that this was actually shortening my life significantly by giving me unnecessary ulcers, and cutting into valuable time that I could be giving to taking care of my precious body that God has given me, I have been SO much happier! 

I have a few friends who are inspiring me to be healthier.  Growing up, I was NOT athletic.  You'd never catch me dead in a gym.  Working out?  Psh, what was that??  Even though sometimes I secretly wanted to, I was embarrassed because I wasn't any good at sports.  I didn't want to humiliate myself, and I was embarrassed for people to see me running.  But with the help of certain friends, I can see that you don't have to be a competitive athlete to be in shape.  No, you don't need to have the Olympics scouting you out for you to be allowed to exercise.  I'm going running for 9 miles on Saturday morning with my friend Whitney.  Even though she's probably a better runner than I am, I'm grateful for the opportunity!  

So here's to all of you busy bodies out there.  Take care of your body.  Get to bed on time.  Make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep.  Eat healthy, and exercise regularly!  The doctors aren't lying when they say it will help you.  If you're worried about money, think about it like my husband does.  You can put a little bit of money into your health now instead of the thousands of dollars of health bills that you could prevent later.  Just like you make time to read that book you really like, watch that show you're addicted to, or get on facebook for hours each day...you can spend a little time on your body.  It's not going to be there forever.  Especially if you don't take good care of it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy Body

If this post sounds frantic, I'm terribly sorry.  I just want to make sure I update what I want to in the short amount of time that I have. 

Trivial Experiences:
  • Matt watched "A Goofy Movie" with me last night while we were cooking dinner and folding clothes.  He has never seen it before.  I forgot how funny that movie was.  I like children's movies, okay?
  • In my Shakespeare class, I had to get up in the middle of a class presentation that was going on to get some water.  When I came back, everyone in the room had a small pile of cheezits on their desk.  I guess it was part of the presentation.  I look at my desk, and there are cheezits spilled all over my desk and chair.  Apparently the guy behind me was having a little too much fun with the cheezits.
  • In Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsal, we were practicing an overture that we are playing for the Instrumental Showcase.  Kory, our director, wanted us to start at rehearsal number "B2."  He says "B2!" and then he thinks for a moment, afterwards saying, "or not B2.  That, is the question."  Cheesy humor is pretty much the bomb.
Not-so-trivial Experiences:
  • My dear friend Nicole left for her mission.  It made me cry.  Also, my dear friend Kenzie left on her mission.  Why does everyone have to grow up so fast?  I guess all my friends could say the same thing about me getting married.
  • I couldn't find my keys before school one morning.  If I don't have my key, it is very likely that I won't be able to get into my apartment when I get home, because Matt doesn't have a cell phone on him as often anymore.  I looked around the house about 7 different times.  Finally, I did what I should have done all along.  I got on my knees and prayed for what was, at the time, an urgent matter.  I didn't want to be late for class, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk from where we live.  When I opened my eyes, I looked at the very place that they were.  Right where I had left them last.  It was my little miracle for the week, not counting all the nice things that my husband does for me each day.  :)

I love working out, and now that I can go to the gym, I am getting up at 4:30am every morning (assuming I can get to bed on time...cross your fingers) so that I can have time to pack a lunch and get ready.  It's so nice to not have to worry about moving and organizing stuff as much anymore.  Also, by getting up this early, I can't complain that I don't have as much practice time that I need.

Last Sunday I made a Mediterranean pot roast.  It was tasty...even though this picture probably doesn't do it justice.

I know I'm usually more entertaining, but my life needs to be lived.  :)  Until next time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self Improvement--Inspired by President Samuelson

I haven't worked out in almost 2 months.  This whole week I felt nasty inside, and I kept having what women call "fat days."  Even if you're not any bigger than you were the day before, you wake up that morning and feel like you just ate 5 extra large pizzas by yourself the night before.  Since I can't really afford a gym membership at the moment, my husband and I went to the campus gym.  I ran on the elliptical, and Matt shocked the men sitting next to him by how much weight he could lift without breaking a sweat.  OK, so he broke a sweat.  But still, that's my man!  One thing that I've noticed that he does is when he works out is he brings a little notebook with him to record his progress.  That way, he can always know where he was before, and where he wants to be.  I also happened to be listening to a BYU devotional on podcast on my ipod while I was exercising.  This really made me reflect on self-improvement and how to make it more effective and still staying happy.

The specific devotional that I was listening to was President Samuelson's address for what I believe was the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.  I remember the talk when I was in the Marriot Center that day, but listening to it again really made me think more.  He spoke about the future, and the difference between the things we can't control and the things that we can.  He talked about how there are always those who seem to get better grades than us without having to work as hard.  There always seem to be those people who can just eat as much as they want and whatever they want without gaining any weight.  And don't forget those people who just seem to get asked out on dates all the time, even if they aren't the nicest people.  We can't control that.  We also can't really forsee what the economy is going to be like, and if we'll be rich and/or famous one day. 

What we CAN control is our relationships, he says.  He talks about our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  The ball is in our park.  We can control how much we talk to Him and how much we serve Him by serving our fellow men.  We can even control how much we think about Him.  Sometimes, as I've discovered, it is difficult.  Sometimes it feels like Heavenly Father leaves us for a little while, so that we can grow through suffering.  Think about the Savior.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Lord left Jesus so that He could suffer.  And suffer He did. In order to fill His divine role, He had to be alone.  Not to compare ourselves to the Savior at all, but the Lord does sometimes leave us for periods of time, mostly due to our stupid decisions and mistakes.  But also to help us feel sorrow so that we can appreciate joy.  Think about it.  How could you really appreciate someone for being dependable, if you haven't experienced being stood up?

Samuelson also spoke of improving our relationships with our loved ones.  One thing that really struck me was the emphasis on checking in with your folks when you don't need money for something.  I would encourage you, if you can, to keep correspondence with those you love, especially those that serve you.  

Lastly, President Samuelson talked about improving your relationship with yourself.  Being honest with yourself is so important for self-improvement.  For instance, when I practice, and I mark my millions of tally marks in my notebook for how many times I played something without mistakes, I can't make one mistake and mark it.  The only person that is suffering from that is me.  Also, cheating your way through school is another example.  Sure, you might get an "A" on that one test.  But think about it.  Why are you in college?  Last time I checked, it was because you wanted to be trained in a specific trade.  You wanted to make yourself marketable to a specific genre of company and profession.  Just like any skill, you can't go from point "A" to point "X."  You have to take it one step at a time, and learn things at the pace that your mind can comprehend.  If you cheat yourself, nobody else is going to suffer besides you.  It's like leaving out the yeast in a bread mixture.  It just won't work.  Eventually, everyone will know that you left out the yeast.  No busniness is going to hire you if you can't do the essentials that you spent SO much time and money learning how to do.  The business that you want to work for is not going to care if you can't do it.  They just won't hire you.  Or, if you squeak by on the interviews, you will eventually be found out, and most likely replaced by some other hard-worker that didn't cheat it college.  The skills that I am referring are those of a necessary nature for your specific trade.  It could be anything.  Musical scales, basic algebra, and even learning how to read.  There are so many hard working people in this world.  Driven, hard working people.  The job market is competitive.  If you have a dream to attain something, realize that you're probably not the only one who has that dream.  If you're honest with yourself, and keep the Lord in your life, and work as hard as you can, chances are you have a great shot.

One thing that I think everyone needs to learn is how to really love oneself.  I know plenty of people who on the outside would seem like the most confident individuals.  Their lives are so perfect.  They don't have any insecurities...why should they?  They have everything they need!  And still I hear about deep rooted sadness.  I even see it sometimes, in people who in my mind, have it all!  I don't think this is ingratitude.  I've had times in my life where I feel that way.  I think it is just losing sight of the fact that you really are pretty freakin' awesome.  In order to love other people, the Lord, and the blessings that are brought to you, you have to learn to love yourself first.  Remember the Savior.  Think about what He paid for you.  Think about what you enjoy doing, just because it makes you happy.  Make a little time for that in your crazy schedule every now and then.  After exercising yesterday with my husband, I am filled with great joy.  It wasn't even a super intensive workout.  But it made me happy.  After you start looking in the mirror and thinking, "I really am a great person," start directing your joy towards others through service.  There is nothing like serving someone when you already have that self-confidence inside of you.  It feels SO much better.  That way, there can be no resentment in your heart.  You are serving because you want to; because it feels good.  However, I really don't think that anyone can serve effectively without loving oneself first.

I know it's not that easy.  If you're anything like me, you'll understand that when I do anything wrong or even not perfectly, sometimes I am overcome with guilt.  I can't seem to focus on the things that I've ever done good in my life...just on the flaws.  Forgiving oneself is essential to progression!  However, all of you musicians know that in order to improve a piece of music, you have to zone in on your "trouble spots."  But this needs to be treated delicately.  If it starts to wander into emphasizing your flaws in character, then you need to back up and think about what's really important.  This has been my constant struggle.  But I really do feel like I'm getting better.

Anyway, enough of my babbling.  These are just my thoughts in response to the devotional.  Thanks for reading. 

Au revoir!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pictures n' Stuff

So, just to show all y'all how behind I am, here are some pictures from the honeymoon.

Inside the Bellagio.  Isn't this glass art so beautiful?
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On the Vegas Strip.  Do we look sweaty?
I had to.
Click here for pictures of the wedding.

And, as for our cute little apartment, even though it slightly resembles a college dorm room, and we don't have any decorations yet, I love it!  I mean, what's not to love?


Our lovely bedset that my dear Grandparents gave us for the wedding
Our Ikea couch.  We love it, and we found it all by ourselves!  We still haven't figured out what to do about that TV wire yet though.  Still working on that.
Better view of the living room.
I should have taken the tablecloth off to showcase our lovely wooden table that my parents got for us.  It's so beautiful.  And Matt assembled it all on his own while I was practicing for auditions.  Such a sweetie.  OK enough mushy stuff.
See that slowcooker?  There's a chicken in that monster, cuz I'm domesticated like that.
See the magnets all in a row?  Yeah that wasn't supposed to be in the picture.  I don't want everyone to know how OCD I can get sometimes.  Oopsie.
Since Matt doesn't have a meal plan at the canon center anymore, our pantry looks like this!  Yay for food.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest.  Now I need to go read about more Bali Indonesians who don't like to have open space in celebration homes because the devil shoots in straight lines and they don't want ol' Scratch getting to them or their babies.  That probably made sense to you if you're in my Music 307 class.  For the rest of you, sorry.  I'm a little involved in school right now. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

A New Chapter

Alright, alright, I know everyone thinks that the thing to do when you get married is to create a family blog so that family and friends can look at it and go "awww...their lives are so perfect."  Just SO YOU KNOW, I have been an avid blogger (I like to write for entertainment) for a few years now and I just wanted my new name to be on my blog page.  For whatever reason, it won't let me change my previous blog to my new email address.  The email address that I signed up with originally is going to soon be discontinued, and I still want to be able to blog.

I don't really agree with posting everything about one's personal life, especially dealing with your marriage, where everyone can see it.  If you want to know how amazing and lovely our marriage is, ask me about it and I'll tell you.  I mainly want to keep up my writing skills, and give vague updates.

As far as updates go, Matt is in his 3rd year of lawschool and I am in my final year of my undergraduate degree.  I have every intention of pursuing my education/musical career.  However, we are married, and we would really love to be living in the same place as a married couple.  My applications for graduate school are due before Matt can really apply for jobs since he is several months from graduating.  So for those of you who want to know where I'm going to end up, it's kind of a shot in the dark.  My hope is that I'll apply to a school that is close to where Matt can get a good job (hopefully) and I'll get in.  So, we're praying lots and pressing forward with faith. 

We are finally moved in and really enjoying being settled.  (Pictures coming soon.)  Since I don't have a lot of time tonight, this will be a short post.  Thank you all who are religious followers.  I hope I won't dissapoint.