Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Bells....

Thoughts on the royal wedding (while watching a rebroadcast... some of us had to work today)

Dress = EPIC. Honestly, this was why I watched the wedding. I approve. Entirely. Love, love, love the dress. Got scared for a minute when I thought she had a massive butt-bow but then I realized it was just the bustle of the train. Such a fitting dress for not only a princess but also the myriads of women who will be copying it for years to come -- they won't have to look back at their wedding pictures and say "gee, I didn't get married in the 1980's or anything." The dress reminds me of Maria's in SoM but with a lace bodice rather than satin.. looks more feminine and softer than Maria's (as much as I hate to speak "poorly" about my girl MvT).

Poor Pippa looked like she was babysitting.... if one would babysit in such a great dress. I'm in awe of her ability to fix Kate's (HRH Catherine or whatever it is now) train in that dress.

How many girls sitting at home do you think screamed "YES!! He's supposed to marry me!!!" when the archbishop asked if there was any reason for them not to get married?

"For richer for poorer" -- am I the only one who finds this somewhat laughable in this setting?

"All my worldly goods I share" -- sweet deal!

Choir = awesome (but then, who's surprised?)

Grandma looks good in yellow.

Congregational singing was impressive. This is the type of thing that makes me very interested in the new Ordinariates ... of course on a smaller scale, but the Anglicans have such a great music tradition. Although, there were some moments that would make an amazing "songs of praise with subtitles" video :-D Hahaha... and there was some woman conducting from the pew.

I found it interesting that the "marriage ceremony" was the first part of the service.

I couldn't help but chuckle at the mentions of "honoring each other with their bodies" as I remembered Charles' comment when they got engaged: "They've been practicing long enough."

Girls behind Grandma... you will regret this. I didn't realize a pink foam trellis was an acceptable "hat" for such an event. Or that raccoon eyes were attractive.

The Rutter (This is the Day) was very Rutterian. Nice, catchy, mellow, but not nearly as impressive as....

Holy cluster chords in the Ubi Caritas -- yummy :) -- especially the low bass line!!

Oh please, William, it's just Velcro on your gloves... not rocket surgery or brain science! And then he holds her bouquet so she can climb in to the carriage looking at it like it's about to eat him. You two are riding in a carriage after getting married... I think that maybe, just maybe, it might be socially acceptable to hold hands -- provided you are still waving with your other, of course.

Note to wedding coordinator... next time, brief footman (is that right term?) on proper handling of a train when exiting the carriage. My heart broke for the poor thing when he crumpled it and pulled it onto the carpet.

Reasons I would NOT want to marry a prince...........
  1. Wedding as a huge social event.
  2. No privacy.
  3. Wedding pictures turned into postcards.
  4. Walking down the aisle with his back to you.
  5. Walking three steps behind him for the rest of my life (do they still do that?) ... I'm no hardcore feminist, but that's just not right.
  6. At least when it comes to the British Royal Family -- no Catholics need apply.
  7. The most famous (and repeated) song is dedicated to your Grandma (or Mom or Dad depending on the situation)
  8. No "You may kiss the bride."
  9. Probably not acceptable to change into white tennis shoes for the reception.
  10. Little "true" freedom with wedding choices.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two pointless but *hopefully* amusing lists

#1 -- Dating websites for all people (dreamed up with Clare T. and Teresa... thanks gals!)
  6. (Christian Scientist)
  7. (Mormon)

#2 -- Surprising things found in my room while cleaning/organizing ... there actually is a story behind each thing.
  1. A pageant tiara
  2. A popcorn popper from no later than 1970 (or so) in its original box
  3. Sheet music for a Wagner art song
  4. A woman's velvet shirt size 24W
  5. A black pleather corset from Fredrick's of Hollywood (via Gabes)
I could tell the stories... but the list is more interesting without... lol

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Absence makes the heart ...

... ache more when you have to say good-bye again?

The past few days have been crazy. Since I'm in the States for my Grandma's funeral, I had the chance to go back to SHU and see so many close friends and mentors. It was wonderful: the chance to celebrate Candice's birthday, spend time with Chris, Kaitlin, Kelly, Sam, Colleen, Brittany, et al., hang out with Caitlyn at "our" house, talk to teachers, sit in on a "Music in Secondary Education" class -- the topic for the day was middle school psychology: I don't think there could have been a more useful topic for me right now, sit in on a choral society rehearsal and then continue a tradition into its fourth year by getting cheesesticks and talking with Candice for hours.

It was such an unexpected gift. And yet, it had a dark side.

The realization of how much I have changed and how much my life has changed since graduation hit me like a ton of bricks. And, at the same time, so many of my friends are still where they were when we were in school together. If not the same mental, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual place then at least the same physical location. We've all grown... in different ways. It's been easy enough to accept that from across the ocean, but being confronted by the fact, in the place where I spent so many hours with these people who are so dear to me was really difficult. I'm happy where I am and there are things that I wouldn't trade just to go back to SHU but it still wasn't easy to see how firmly the door has closed on that chapter of my life.

That wasn't the only difficult part. I had the chance to participate in handbell rehearsal because a few people were absent. Later I went to choral society -- my first "real" choral/vocal anything since MAY. That's almost a year. Additionally, various people asked me where/if I'm singing these days. I hate the answers to those questions. Because, it's easy to ignore how much I'm not singing and how desperately I miss it when I'm not reminded what it's actually like. It's difficult to admit to someone else (particularly those who have been musical mentors to me) that I'm not doing anything with music outside of the little teaching I do. Singing is something my soul needs. And it has been starving for the past (almost) year. This must change. Now, it's just a matter of figuring out how.

Finally, along with missing music, I miss learning. Of course I'm learning much from teaching, but I miss being the receptive student not the constantly active teacher. Yet another reason to start looking at grad schools again.

On a completely unrelated note:
Have a blessed Triduum!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Because I'm lazy and indecisive and insecure ...

... that's why I'm Catholic.

(inspired by Bible study... if you are part of that group and happen to be reading, I don't intend this as an attack, at all. I'm sorry if it comes across as such. I'm just glad things are a little simpler for me. Also, the title is inspired by a blog that I've been reading -- I'm not actually implying that Catholics are lazy, indecisive, and/or insecure.)


Another heated debate at Bible Study. This time it was over the 7th (8th) commandment against stealing. We started with a question: "Why is studying the Bible dangerous?" The leader was looking for "because sometimes it challenges you to change things in your life that you don't want to." Another answer, however, could be "because people's personal interpretations can be vastly different and it's easy to get into an argument if there is not absolute authority - aside from the words which everyone is reading and interpreting differently."

I don't want to get into who was right or wrong or what views are correct. Partly, because that's not what this post is about and partly because I'm not sure. But here's the thing. I don't have to make that call. I've got a place I can go to find out. All I need to do is pull out a copy of the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) and it's spelled out for me.

On a related note, confession was touched on tonight. Not the sacrament, obviously, but the fact that it is important to confess to both God and the person you've wronged. And that confession isn't easy. That's true. But, even though I don't go as often as I should, once I get through the hard part, I hear my favorite prayer (outside of the Mass):
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Yes, in the name and authority of God, I get to hear a human voice tell me that my sins are gone. There is no worrying "did God actually hear my prayer and forgive me?" or "how do I know if I'm really forgiven?" I don't have to wait for a voice in my head to convince me that I'm free. My mind doesn't have to struggle with "did God actually say that or was I just making it up so I'll feel better?" -- because if I couldn't hear an actual person saying those words that's what I would struggle with. But, it's all a moot point, because - for better or worse (but, honestly that's a silly statement here) - I'm Catholic. And I couldn't be more thankful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Up in a swing

How do you like to go up in a swing?
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown -
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

I loved swings as a child. I still do. there is something relaxing about the way you're flying back and forth through the air. They proved many a time to be a fantastic place for me to sit and reflect. I could sit on a swing and just think for hours.

Of course, it's not always so calm. This past summer, a group of my coworkers and I had the chance to spend some time on a playground while waiting to see a floor-run. One of my friends challenged me to a swing competition. It wasn't much of a contest :-) HAHA

On Monday's, I work at the Foundation's original kindy. My group has 8 kids going to school next year (6-7-year-olds) and 18 3-year-olds, so we have the "little" playground area. There are two swings where I typically hang out: supervising turn taking and lots of pushing, which, btw... is very strange because I can't count like I grew up doing and still do when pushing any kids outside of work. Dad always counted in Hungarian so that's what I associate with swinging... not allowed in this setting -- ironic. A couple of weeks ago (OK, two to be exact), as I was standing there pushing kids, I was reminded of the awesome school playground in the village where my grandparents used to live. As I was lamenting over the fact that I wouldn't ever be there again, I had no idea that the next day I would be looking at flights to go back for my grandma's funeral. Now I may have the chance to swing there again. Maybe I'll volunteer to take my cousins ...

Just as long as they leave me a swing!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My week...

1. Got the "new" date for my wedding... I told 6a that I couldn't get married last Sunday because I didn't know where and what time. Of course, I'm not going to the school tonight at midnight (or was it this morning at midnight? They didn't say.) So, I still won't be married when Tuesday comes around again.

2. Vocabulary lessons looking over some 6a projects:
Doubt: when someone(1) founds someone (2) and it lives at someone(2) it helps it as it child. (I think they were looking for "adopt")
Longing: when something gets longer
Fancies: little fances (in Hungarian, this would be the logical guess)
Purr: The sound of a gun OR when a cat bit you, a little bit

3. I dislike conflict. There was some miss-communication at work, and I almost ended up not being able to go home next week. Thankfully, it's all sorted out and...

4. I'm going home (well to Toronto for my grandma's funeral in NY) in 5 days!! Not happy for the reason but really excited to be going!

5. I saw Bank ban last night at the opera. It was good. I wasn't blown away, but it wasn't as disappointing as Vespers was in January. Acting-wise, my favorite character was Tiborc, a peasant friend/helper of Bank's. He was really into his character and had more idiosyncrasies that made him believable. Melinda and Bank sounded great (especially their scene together in Act II where - in a nutshell - he curses their son, she begs him not to, and he relents). I felt Melinda could have been a bit more believable in her aria ("Ölj meg engemet, Bánk" or "Please kill me, Bank") during that scene. Yes, she was on the ground by his feet, but singing straight to the audience rather than to Bank was a little bit odd. Also, Gertrude must have been bloodless in addition to being heartless because when Bank stabbed her she didn't bleed even a drop on her white night gown -- strange. (Having worked at scrubbing stage blood out of cream colored duchess satin, this really disappointed me)

6. Spent another couple of hours on the trampoline with the kindy kids yesterday. Best moment... getting tackled by three little boys who decided that I was General Grievous (they were Anakin, (Luke), Obi Wan (Vader), and I'm not sure who the third was pretending to be).

7. I'm currently "bugging" Ss. Anthony of Padua, Gabriel the Archangel, and Matthew the Apostle (patrons of mail, post offices/postal workers, and customs officers respectively) hoping that a package comes before I leave for the States... if you want to bug them on my behalf that would be cool. Yet another reason I'm glad I'm Catholic!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet some of my kids

On Fridays, I take the commuter train about 20 minutes north of Budapest to the new kindergarten where I work with the oldest group. Friday is swimming day but sometimes I stay at the kindy depending on how many kids aren't swimming. I'm happy to stay behind because swimming is a big hassle ... and not going means I can play outside with the kids -- on the new trampoline! I've always liked big trampolines but never had any chance to play on them regularly. Now, my Friday mornings consist of jumping off and on for up to an hour and a half. I'm choosing to believe that it's building muscle since that's about the only sort of exercise I can safely do right now and not worry more about losing weight.

Anyway... I thought I'd write about some of the Sunny Seeds kids. There are 11 kids (I think -- there has been some shifting lately between grou
ps) age 5-7, ten boys and a girl.

Starting with A & P ... aka... Boy and Girl
-- this is hardly an exaggeration...They could almost pose for these pictures. Boy is one of the two older boys who will be going to school next year. He's somewhat of a "gentle giant" and by far the most mature of the class. Girl is the little princess of the class -- not surprising since she's the only girl. Her little sister is in the mini group and Girl is often playing Mommy to her little sister.

Next: B & K ... aka Sons of Thunder
These brothers are the loudest of the bunch... and usually the worst behaved. B is getting ready for school (7 years old) and K is just a little bundle of trouble (although, luckily for him, often adorably) at 5. Things are just getting crazier now that their parents are getting divorced... I wish parents could see what that does to their kids sometimes. Here's hoping that the kids get through it and do alright like their "namesakes."

A & A AKA... Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker
These are their names, not mine. They love Star Wars and are always role playing something or building starships out of Lego blocks etc. Darth Vader is the son of one of the other kindy teachers and he loves correcting the other children - especially at meals - by yelling at them (louder than they actually are) to be quiet. Luke is/was being raised bilingual but I believe his parents are divorced and dad is back in England (or which ever English-speaking country he's from). In any case, he had a better grasp of English coming in compared to some of the others but by this point they are pretty equal.

M aka... The Mouth
The Mouth, as the name would suggest, has the worst mouth I've ever heard on a child. It's bad enough to hear "four-letter words" (although in Hungarian, they may have more or less letters) from an adult but there are some things I just don't want to hear out of a 4-5 year old. It doesn't help matters that his attitude is cruddy and he's the one who always insists he can't understand a word I say (even when another teacher who knows NO English can understand through my use of gestures).

B aka Mr. Mellow
Mr. Mellow is the kid who couldn't be more easy-going. Quiet and calm. A great helper when it comes to cleaning up or setting the table, etc. Gentle and has a big heart, although sometimes he can be a bit clingy. Over all, though, he's a really great 5 year old.

I really don't know the other three very well ... one is new, one just moved from the middle group, and the third isn't usually there on Fridays.

These little buggers can be such sweethearts. I know I shouldn't have favorites, but it's pretty much impossible. Like Boy... I got back from break today and he was in our group room working quite diligently on a paper crown which he proceeded to wear the rest of the afternoon. Or Luke -- we had a bit of a rough afternoon -- after having a hard time waking up from his nap (although, I really don't mind when they decide to snuggle up on my lap), he refused to drink his water at snack and ended up sitting at the table for a good long while after everyone else was done. He got pretty upset with me because I wouldn't let him leave until he had had two sips. Even after he finally drank some he was still moping at the table... I ended up carrying him over to the carpet and telling a "Once upon a time..." story involving everyone in the room which turned into he, Boy, and Vader stealing my shoes -- worked rather like clown shoes. I "retaliated" by wearing Boy's shoes -- kind of like high heels with no actual heels. That got Luke laughing hysterically and I knew all was fine.

Moral of the story... I love kids... especially 3-6 year olds.