Saturday, November 24, 2012

One Blade of Grass

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice." 

~John Calvin

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ludwig van Beethoven, hubba hubba

This is really fun for me.  Somehow word got out at the community orchestra I play with that I like to dabble in graphic design (okay, so I probably said some not-so-nice things about previous attempts at fliers which were thrown together in Word for heaven sakes!  After my complaining, they told me to put my money where my mouth is).  So far, I've designed the last three concert "posters" for our group (including the one for the chamber concert from the last post), and a few ads that have run in the local paper.  I'm a big believer in presentation-- I remember years ago hearing one friend tell another, "Listen, tell people you're amazing, and they'll believe it."  I think that's really true, and as far as our orchestra is concerned, I thought it needed more polishing done in the presentation department.  We are, after all, a community orchestra that goes after the professional orchestra crowd.  We needed to send the message that we're contenders.

That said, as a non-profit with major expenses, we need to rely on local talent, so to speak.  And so, I got my day in the limelight.  I'm having so much fun designing these-- sitting down in front of my computer for a few hours with the help of Photoshop Elements (and my newly downloaded vector graphics editing software, Inkscape).  I sometimes feel limited by my tools-- I learned Photoshop and Illustrator in college-- but overall, I'm happy to be able to flex my creative muscles a bit.  It's so much fun to play!

In other news, in case you didn't notice, we have another concert coming up.  Hurricane Sandy and other events (aka life) happening mean that I've missed more than a few rehearsals, but I think I'm going to try and play this concert.  I mean, it's not every day that gal gets a chance to perform Beethoven, right?  He's definitely a man to get my little classical-music-loving heart beating. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Warlock and Handel and Haydn, oh my!

It's concert time again!  This time I'm playing in a chamber orchestra (there's only six violins! plus the other instruments) and the setting is in a small church in the heart of my town.  So far, I've only played with our larger symphony, so this time will be really special for me.  Usually we play in a large auditorium to a 500-person audience, but this time it'll be for the enjoyment of just the lucky few.  I'm a little nervous because I can't hide in the back of the string section as I am wont to do, but honored that I was included in this group.

If you're in Delaware and feel like a little chamber music, by all means, get thee to our concert.  Handel's Organ Concerto is a lovely piece of baroque (perfect for the church setting), and Haydn's Symphony 104 (his last and also known at the "London" symphony) is immediately recognizable.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Timeless Advice from a Mother to a Father

Immer bist du doch, Vater, so ungerecht gegen den Sohn! und so wird am wenigsten dir dein Wunsch des Guten erfüllet.  Denn wir können die Kinder nach unserem Sinne nicht formen; So wie Gott sie uns gab, so muß man sie haben und lieben, Sie erziehen aufs beste und jeglichen lassen gewähren.  Denn der eine hat die, die anderen andere Gaben; Jeder braucht sie, und jeder ist doch nur auf eigene Wesie Gut und glücklich.

Why will you always, father, do our son such injustice?  That least of all is the way to bring your wish to fulfillment.  We have no power to fashion our children as it suits our will; As they are given by God, so we must have them and love them; teach them as best we can, and let each of them follow his nature.  One will have talents of one sort, and different talents another.  Every one uses his own; in his own individual fashion, each must be happy and good.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, parental advice from Goethe's epic poem, Hermann and Dorothea

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Unsent Letter Project

Gosh.  Back in April, I decided I wanted to post unsent letters I had written.  In typical fashion, I've failed miserably at that goal.  In total, I've posted exactly one letter.  At this rate, I'll be lucky if I get one up a year.  This entry isn't unsent letters, but postcards that were sent, received, and through fate, are now back in my possession.

     Today, I'm thinking of my grandma, or Golden Grams as I called her.  She would have been 89 today, and losing her is one of the hardest things I've gone through.

    When she died, we began the process of dismantling her life, of sorting through her things.  Tucked in her beloved set of Encyclopedia Britannica were the following postcards, each one next to entry for the country I'd sent the postcard from.  It touched me to see how she'd saved the postcards I'd sent her from my travels.

     The first postcard is from my first trip abroad-- a trip I took with my friend, Mark, and his family.  The following year I went back to Paris to study abroad for a semester, and I mailed her a postcard from the Loire valley, which my classmates and I had toured.  The third postcard was mailed from Athens, Greece.  I had traveled there alone to model, and it was my first time traveling on my own.  I stayed there for two months, and worked with a local modeling agency there (garnering my first two national magazine covers during that trip).  The last postcard was mailed from Cologne, Germany.  It's special to me, because my grandma sat next me on the train while I wrote it.  We'd traveled to Germany to visit my brother, who was studying there, and so that Grandma could see the homeland of her father.  It was a very special trip, and I was thrilled to have the woman I loved so much with me.

    Grandma, I miss you.  I think of you all the time, and I'm thankful for whatever vestiges I carry of you.  You were an amazing woman, and I'm glad that you're reunited with Grandaddy, sitting at the Lord's feet in Paradise.

Dear Golden Grams,
    Here's your postcard-- as promised.  I thought this one was kind of pretty.  This shows the Notre Dame Cathedral which is situated on an island, surrounded by the Seine River.  We climbed the bell tower-- it was very cool!  The view was amazing and there were cool gargoyals.  We also went to the Catacombs-- yards and yards of bones & skulls and things underground.  There's bunches of other things we've done as well but I'll tell you about them later.  Right now we're in Brugge, Belgium which is quite a captivating wonderful little town.  There's a moat surrounding the city.  Also canals-- this is known as the Venice of the North.  I've been to what feels like zillions of churches on this trip-- all magnificent.  The hotel we're in here is an old monastery.  Very quaint.  I love you and hope all is well!
♥ elise

January 2001
Hey Grandma.
   How are you?  We visited this chateau today-- what do you think?  We spent the night in one- it was amazing. Toured 5 in all.  It's cold here but we leave for Barcelona, Spain in two days-- should be warmer there.  I'm having a great time-- meeting lots of friends-- the French are nice.  We stay busy-- constantly doing things.  Thanks for the $$ you sent me for X'mas-- I'm doing pretty good on spending but every bit helps.
♥ you! elise

July 18, 2003
Dear Grandma~
    Hello:)  Greetings from Athens:)  Thought I'd send you a pic of the Parthenon-- it looks much better in the pic as it is currently under construction.
   My time here is almost up-- 10 days to go.  I'm sad to leave as I've grown rather fond of this city.  But I'm happy to be getting home to yummy home-cooked food and my sis's birthday and all.  I'll be home for all of August so that should be very nice.
   I've worked a little bit here so it was definitely worthwhile for me to come here.
   Thank you so much for the money!  I really appreciate it!  I  you and miss you.
xoxo elise

Oct. 12, 06
Hi grandma!
   We are riding back from the Grand Cathedral in Cologne.  I thought this was a nice postcard to remind you of our trip!  I wanted to thank you for being my roomie-- it was a grand trip!
   I had a wonderful trip and am so thankful you came (believe me, when I thought you might decide not to come because of that passport, I seriously considered backing out myself.)  I am so glad that you were able to see the motherland-- and that I could see it with you!  I will treasure the memories of our time together here forever.
I love you!
xoxo-- elise