Friday, April 27, 2007

My Week

This week got very busy!!

We had our dance lesson on Tuesday and I think we are starting to feel overwhelmed. Too many new things all at once! Chris is starting to worry that he won't be able to remember it all. I think it might help us to just quiz each other on what the steps are whenever we think about it. Waltz: one, side, together; Rumba: slow, quick, quick; Swing: slow, slow, quick, quick; etc., etc.

Wednesday evening I had my Faith Formation Committee meeting at church. It was actually a very interesting meeting. We had a guest come speak, the guy with the diocese who is in charge of education or something. He talked about some current discussions and a task force he is heading up on the Sacrament of Confirmation. He also helped dispel some rumors that the diocese was considering "Restored Order" for the sacraments. Apparently the Bishop is not interested in that and of the 32 diocese in the country who have tried it 9 have gone back to current order and several others are only experimenting with it in just a few of their parishes. Besides that, the whole discussion of confirmation was enlightening (I even learned a few things), and we also discussed plans for Adult Education, in-service opportunities we have coming up, and a new program the Bishop is pushing called "Why Catholic?".

The rest of the week has been pretty normal, nothing exciting. Rehearsal on Thursday night (concert is coming up fast!) and tonight we have a meeting with Father Frank about marriage stuff. I actually don't have a clue what we are meeting about this time (results of the survey, readings for the mass, pre-marriage counseling), but I'm sure he'll tell us when we get there.

Monday I start putting together the next issue of the Newsletter I am responsible for publishing for the Music OCLC Users Group. The June issue is always the largest one; last year's was tremendous and the printing and bulk mailing bills reflected that! I hope to streamline it a little this time, but I have to talk to someone at the Library of Congress first. LC's report is what makes it overly big; I hope to change that.

But before I have to deal with that, I am going to enjoy my weekend. I hope you do too! Enjoy the little video clip I also posted today (see below). It makes for nice Friday humor!

New Technology: The Book

Do you remember what it was like to first learn how to use a computer? Check out this video clip for learning how to use a book!! The clip is in some Germanic/Scandinavian language (I can't distinguish it) with subtitles in English (top of screen) and, I think, Dutch (bottom of screen).

Have a good laugh!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to my sister who is 30 today!!!

Hope you have a great day and eat lots of cake!! Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Our Group Dance Class

We went to the Arthur Murray studio tonight for a group class. The studio offers group classes at various levels. We went to the Newcomer class, of course.

Tonight was the 2-step. They line all the guys up on one side and the girls on the other. The instructor shows the guys their step, then the girls. We practice a little and then pair up. The girls keep rotating partners as we progress.

It's fun because you get to dance with a variety of partners, some of who really know what they are doing and others are beginners like us. But the Newcomer class does keep things basic.

Surprisingly we learned 5 different moves in 45 minutes!! Don't know that I'll remember them, but I did try to review them when I got home. Chris mentioned having some country music at our wedding reception so we can dance the 2-step. I had previously nixed any mention of country music, but I might be persuaded. Sharon will like that, too!

We may try to get to the studio early tomorrow and practice some of our new moves before our private lesson. That may depend on how crowded the floor is when we get there. So we'll see.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Less than 6 Months!!

Friday we hit exactly 6 months until the wedding!! We're both so excited. It is fun to see the countdown on the top of the blog, most of the time. It can also be a bit frustrating.

We've been good here. The weather is starting to really warm up a bit. Today is especially warm.

Wednesday night we went to dinner at an Indian restaurant on my end of town. It was a social function with our young adult group and we had 8 people there for dinner. It was a nice turnout, the food was great, and I definitely ate too much.

Friday night we had our last NFP class. At the last two classes we were the only couple to show up. Luckily both lasted less than the allotted two hours and we ended up just chatting with the teaching couple. We're glad the classes are over, but definitely grateful for the information. The classes are being revised, the teaching couples are all going through re-training, and a fifth edition of the book is supposed to come out by July. We may get the next edition just to see the differences, but we like the variety of choices of rules that this current edition has. Although, I admit that the book does need some updating.

Saturday I managed to hit the grocery store, do a load of laundry, and a few other things around the house before Chris came by around 1:30 to pick me up. We then headed to Louisville for the fireworks show they do there every year two weeks before the Derby. It was a very long day, sitting in the hot sun from about 3:30 until it got dark. They had an airshow going on during that time (although I was mostly reading during it). At 9:30 the fireworks started and they lasted until around 10. I know this is supposed to be a huge deal, but I think the fireworks show I saw upriver in Cincinnati several years back was actually better. But it was definitely a good show if you like that sort of thing.

The hard part was sitting in traffic in downtown Louisville forever. It took us about 30 minutes to walk to the car and then we were in traffic, barely moving, for over an hour. I think it was almost midnight by the time we hit an interstate. Chris managed to get me home around 1pm, I got four hours of sleep and then had to be at church just before 8am Sunday morning. I was exhausted. But I manged to play a prelude before Mass and play the instrumental accompaniment with the choir during the preparation of gifts piece. But I will say, playing my instrument with so little sleep was not fun, and my body was not liking it at all.

Today was relaxing though. I can't take naps otherwise I would have, but I'm headed to bed as soon as I finish typing this. After church I went to the store again, got stuff for dinner; at home I did more laundry, dishes, cleaned a little, practiced, Chris came over and read the paper while I was playing, and I did a little reading as well. We had dinner together and basically just relaxed. We actually weren't doing much together today, but it was nice just being with each other: him reading, me playing; both of us reading; him on the computer and me cooking dinner; etc., etc.

Okay, enough of that. Wow, I started this just being excited that we are now less than 6 months to the wedding!! I tend to go on a bit. :)

Have a great week everyone!! I have lots planned, but more on that later!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VA Tech Tragedy

The tragedy at Virginia Tech this week has been very difficult for many people around the country and around the world. Please pray for those who lost their lives, for their families, and for the whole University community.

At UK, I have received three emails so far from the Administration. I keep reading the news and I have cried a few times over the sadness of this inexplicable event.

It has also caused me (as I'm sure it has for everyone else) to contemplate the safety of a university like VA Tech, UK, or any other school. Such sprawling campuses that overlap with the surrounding communities are difficult to keep an eye on at all times. The media seems to want to blame the university for not doing something to prevent this tragedy, but it sounds like the University did everything they could with what information they had.

Working in a very public area like I do, in a very open, Land Grant institution with a mission to serve the entire state makes it impossible to limit access to the university. It's scary, but you can't live your life in fear, otherwise we wouldn't leave our houses in the morning.

Chris and I were just talking the other day (Sunday I think, even before this week's events) about the general risks of life. We were talking about just doing new things: going to college, moving to a new city without knowing anyone, starting a new job/career, basically just putting yourself out there each and every day. Just leaving the house can be a risk.

I am pleased to see glimmers of positive thoughts coming out of the VA Tech community. Professors and students saying that life must go on, that they must grieve, but that they will continue on as time passes. The Student Government President at UK sent a message to the university community this afternoon. In it he echoed those same thoughts with a few words from Scripture: "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Again, please pray for those who lost their lives this week, for their families, and for the entire VA Tech community.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dancing and music

We had another dance lesson on Monday night!! We're starting to get good enough at the steps that we can actually listen to and stay on the beat of the music. We learned a few more steps and Chris is getting good at leading. We added a new step to the rumba, so he had three different steps to choose from and I had to pay attention to what he was doing to know what I needed to do. Our instructor told us that we would learn even more steps so that eventually Chris will have a lot of choices and I will really have no choice but to follow his lead. I won't be able to anticipate anything.

We also learned another move with the waltz, two actually. We took it out of the box step so that we can move up and down a room instead of just in a box or a rotating box. We also expanded our steps (I thought our steps were already big!). But now we know how to do the really big, sweeping waltz step. Chris' empty living room is no longer big enough for us to practice in.

We had so much fun last night!! Chris especially had a great time. He told me several times after we got home last night how much fun he had and how much he loves this. He especially likes having total control on the dance floor. Hmmm ... wonder what that says? LOL

We are getting so cultured. Not only are we learning social ballroom dancing, but we're looking at the summer opera season and next year's concert season. I got the Cincinnati Opera brochure in the mail the other day. The nice thing about Cincy is that they always do opera in the summer instead of during the normal concert season. They are planning four this year: Faust (Gounod), Cosi fan tutti (Mozart), Nixon in China (Adams), and Aida (Verdi). It's certainly a wide range of operas. Chris has never been to an opera, so I told him we needed to go see Cosi to introduce him to opera, plus it's just a fun opera and Mozart is always a sure bet for an opera newbie. The only other production I want to see is Aida. I've never seen it and have always wanted to. So I think we are definitely planning on that.

I also got the Cincinnati Symphony brochure in the mail and they have another great season planned. I/we can't afford to go too many concerts, but I usually like to pick one or two during the season. No clarinet soloists this season, but I did notice that Penderecki is coming in December and he'll be conducting a concert that will also feature two of his works. It's hard to pass up going to a concert with a well-known, living composer. So that's on my mind as a possibility for next year.

I guess we also need to look at the opera season at IU in Bloomington. I had promised a friend that while she was there I would come up for a performance. IU has a great opera program. I've actually been to two operas there in the past and I once got a private tour of their performing arts facility which was absolutely incredible. I had never seen a place like it before!!

We have a lot of music planned for the next year!! Very exciting!

In other music news, I went to a rehearsal tonight at church with the choir. I am going to play with them on one piece this coming Sunday and the organist and I are going to do two short clarinet/piano pieces as a prelude before Mass. We're going to revive two of the English folk songs we did at the concert in Italy in 2005. Its been a long time since I played in church, so this will be nice.

Lots of music and dancing in our lives right now. I wish everyone lots of music and dancing in your lives too!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Semi-relaxing Sunday

Sunday was a relaxing day for us. I said semi-relaxing above, but it was more laid back than not.

After church we had breakfast at Chris house and then we headed back to the mall to return the sport coat we had bought the day before. The more we looked at it the more we decided that it was too big for him. Stores don't carry too many, if any, of the coats that are more his size, and those they do have are all too short in the sleeves. So he's going to wear a suit on Wednesday and we'll buy and have altered a sport coat at a later time. Every guy should own a nice sport coat, and I think it would be nice for him to wear at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner in October.

So once we got back from the mall, we decided to go to my house for the rest fo the afternoon. We took a trip to the grocery store, made dinner, and then spent the evening reading the paper and talking and I got a chance to make lunches for the week and straighten out a few things. It was so nice to be at my house for once. I think we decided that Sunday's at my house are much more convenient for me and it'll be nice for me to plan and cook (with Chris' help) dinner every once and a while.

Any suggestions for what I can make next Sunday? Have a good week!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Shopping Day

Today was shopping day!! Chris came over this morning for breakfast (he made and brought blueberry muffins) and we had a relaxing breakfast together before heading out to the mall.

Chris is going to Keeneland on Wednesday and he has a ticket to be in the Phoenix Room. That means he also has a dress code: suit or sport coat. So we went to get him a sport coat. I bought it for him on my Macy's card and we saved so much!! The coat was on sale for 40% off AND I got an extra 10% off with my card. Definitely a deal, which is why I went with him.

Before leaving the mall I left Chris to wonder through William Sonoma while I went to use the Vistoria's Secret gift card I had gotten for Christmas. I also had a coupon too, so I managed to save additional money there too.

We then headed to Men's Warehouse to talk wedding tuxes. I think we picked out some nice tuxes. They are black with a little bit of satin lining along the lapel and pockets. It's really nice. All the shirts are ivory with a pointed collar and we picked the Euro tie for all 7 tuxes. We went with a plain ivory vest and tie for Chris (because my dress is ivory), the four groomsmen will have this beautiful Burgundy vest and tie that will go great with the bridesmaids dresses. For the dads the woman we were working with suggested that we do black. Her explanation for why sold me, so we went with a black vest and tie that has the same pattern as the burgundy vest and tie that the groomsmen will be wearing. Our dads will look snazzy!! Actually everyone will look snazzy in these tuxes! I can't wait to see them all. Men look so great when they are all dressed up.

Our morning together ended with a stop at a music store for a thumb rest cushion for my clarinet and then lunch. Chris dropped me off after lunch and I spent this afternoon practicing. Today has been rainy, grey, and on the cold side. A good day to stay in. I'm getting ready to head over to Chris' house soon. We're having dinner and then going to Versailles to see Footloose at the Woodford County Theater. Two friends of mine are in the production and I like going to this theater. It's actually one of the better theaters in this area. I'm looking forward to it.

Have to run. I hope everyone has fun plans for this evening!! Have a great night!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Two Busy/Fun Nights

We have been busy, busy, but having tons of fun!!

Tuesday evening (after another great dinner at Chris' house!) we went off to another dance lesson. Last time we learned the basics of waltz and rumba. Last night we did Foxtrot and Swing. Chris liked Swing a lot! Our instructor called it the lazy man's dance, because the guy doesn't do a whole lot. Chris says that he likes it because he can fling me around some and not do a whole lot himself. After we got home we practiced all four dances some in his empty living room. We're thinking that it'll be a good idea to leave that room empty for now, it makes a great practice space for us.

Wednesday (tonight) was our church young adult group meeting. We have recently revised how this group functions and the new format has attracted a lot more people. We are meeting less frequently and we are reading a book now instead. So we get together once a month to have a book discussion on whatever the book is at the time and then we meet once a month for dinner. So tonight was the first book discussion night. We discussed the first 5 chapters of Letters to a Young Catholic. It's listed in the sidebar under books I'm currently reading. We had a really good discussion. And Fr. Paul joined us and had read the book as well. It was nice having him there because some people had questions about parts of the book that he was able to answer or expand on. Also, he invited us over to the priest's condo after the meeting for some social time and he ordered some pizza's and had a few other snacks around for us. It was nice to sit and visit and I got to talk to some of the other girls a bit more and get to know them. Overall it was a fun and enjoyable evening.

So we have had some busy evenings recently, but enjoyed them immensely. We have a fun weekend planned, I think. More on that later, but it involves some shopping (not for me this time) and an outing to the theater!!

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!! Take care and may God bless you in all that you do!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter to everyone!! I hope everyone had a very blessed holiday. Our's was nice. We spent the majority of the day in Bardstown, where we went to Mass and had dinner with Chris' family. It was a very relaxing day overall and it is always fun to visit with family.

The whole weekend was relaxing actually. Friday (Good Friday) it snowed and by 5pm was accumulating on the ground. We spent most of Friday night going through the Mass readings and a few of the prayers for our wedding Mass. There were 10 different Old Testament readings to choose from and 13 New Testament readings. We also read through the marriage ceremony options and chose some of those. It was a lot of reading. Plus, all the Mass readings had commentary with it that we read through together as well.

Saturday (after I spent some time cleaning and shopping) Chris and I had dinner together and then watched The Nativity. It was a good movie; a little out of season of course, but still good. I cried a lot, no surprise to anyone who has ever watched any kind of movie with me.

Sunday was Easter! A day of joy! Like I said above we went to Bardstown. We also got each other Easter baskets!! Actually, mine was technically from the Easter "Hunny." Isn't Chris cute!?! We had a big dinner around 2pm so when we got back to Lexington around 7 or so we decided to just to have some popcorn for an evening snack.

Also after we were home, we read through the 10 Gospel readings and the rest of the marriage ceremony options, Eucharistic prayers, and other Mass prayers and blessings. We still have a few questions for the priest and we want to write some of our own Prayers of the Faithful, but we have most everything else picked out ... we think, we hope.

So that was our Easter weekend. I hope it was a wonderful Easter for everyone. I also pray that it is a joyous Easter season for everyone over the next 6 weeks or so. I'm going to get to play at church again during the Easter season. The choir has asked me to play the instrumental part to a piece they are singing during the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass in two weeks. I'm looking forward to playing in church again. I've also been asked to play the 2nd movement of the Mozart clarinet concerto as a prelude one Sunday, but that takes a lot more work (not to mention working up my embouchure muscles quite a bit more). It'll probably be Ordinary Time again before I'll be able to play that piece!

Take care and have a good week!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Holy Thursday: The Triduum Begins

Yesterday was Holy Thursday and Chris and I went to the 7:30pm Mass last night. This year for the first time since I've been attending Christ the King that I didn't play with the choir. So I got to sit with the congregation and see more of what was going on.

For the most part, this is a normal Mass. However, after the homily they have the washing of the feet. Our church has 12 stations set up for this and people come up just like for communion and get their feet washed. After this the Mass continues as normal, we receive Holy Communion, and then begins the retirement of the Eucharist in the Chapel. At this point the Eucharist is removed form the church entirely until the Easter vigil on Saturday night. In other words it remains out of the church for as long as Jesus was in the tomb, before the resurrection.

I'm not entirely sure where it is at the moment. I went to church this morning for the sacrament of Reconciliation and their was a prayer service going on in the chapel that the Eucharist had been retired to, but it looked like the Eucharist had been removed. So Jesus presence is now definitely absent from the church. The church did feel quite empty this morning.

So now today is Good Friday. I've been to confession (as noted above) and we're abiding by the rules of fast today. Chris and I are both taking a half day from work and we're going to the 2:00pm service today. Tonight we're going to have dinner (our one meal of the day) and watch a movie.

I hope everyone has a pleasant weekend and a wonderful Easter!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tenebrae: The Beginning of the Sacred Triduum

Tonight Chris and I went to our church for the Tenebrae Service. This is a service that is traditionally held only at the Cathedral parish of a diocese and also usually led by the Bishop, who is officially the pastor of the Cathedral.

Tenebrae is always held on the Wednesday night before the beginning of the Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The booklet we had tonight so we could follow along had this explanation of what Tenebrae is:

The word Tenebrae comes from the Latin word for "darkness" or "shadows". In another age, monks chanted the ancient psalms and lamentations in the darkness of the night or the very early morning. These early offices (Matins and Lauds) of the Sacred Triduum began to be anticipated the evenings before Thursday and Friday of Holy Week.

A singular feature of this service is the fact that as the service progresses candles are gradually extinguished. Here, in the darkened church, we will extinguish all the lights until only one candle remains.

For a brief time -- for the length of the Lord's Prayer -- we remain in darkness, meditating on the mystery of Christ's death and the apparent victory of the darkness and evil in our lives, only to be startled by a loud noise (strepitus) symbolizing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection. The candle then reappears and by its light we pray and leave quietly, anticipating the events to unfold in the Sacred Triduum.

This is one of my favorite services each year. Despite the ongoing Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet throughout and the other kind of depressing aspects, there is plenty of hints of the joyfulness to come and it certainly puts you in the right mood for the next several days before Easter. Also, this is one service that is totally infused with music, another reason why I like it so much.

In our diocese, this service takes place every year with the Bishop at the Cathedral, which is our church. The music is mostly a cappella, some organ, lots of chanting (the Lamentations particularly), and the loud noise symbolizing the earthquake is done with a huge roll on the tympani.

Our regular choir does not do this service. The Cathedral also has a special group (which is audition only) called a schola and this is one of the few services that they do each year. They always do a wonderful job. They lead the congregation in a couple hymns and they do two or more psalms. But they also did a beautiful prelude piece by Michael Haydn called Tenebrae factae sunt and an anthem in honor of Mary (which was done near the end in total darkness) by William Byrd called Ave verum corpus. But my favorite piece, which was done after the homily in semi-darkness was also an anthem, this time by Gregorio Alllegri called Miserere mei. The schola, in the choir loft behind the alter, sang a line, then the person who was doing the chanting would sing the next line all alone from the very front of the alter, near the congregation, then the next line was sung by a small group of women (sopranos and altos) from the very back of the church, so their sound carried over our heads from behind. The various lines of the song kept switching between them all and it was very cool. The chant mixed in with the four-part harmony which was very polyphonic, was quite cool. I kept thinking about writing four-part, medieval style (or Renaissance? not sure when Allegri lived) music for my music theory classes in college while they were singing. But I did listen carefully and it was interesting to try and pick out the various parts while they were singing, the variety was cool too. I also know some of the people in the group and know their singing voices. I could easily pick out the voice of the soprano who is going to be the cantor at my wedding. She was in the group of women at the back of the church. It wasn't because she has a loud voice, well, she does, but she wasn't sticking out in a bad way. Her part was very high and it was often soaring above the other voices who had more movement in their parts. It was very cool!

Overall, this is an interesting service. If you ever get a chance to go to one, I highly recommend it. Not every diocese does it, and remember that if there is one in your diocese it is most likely at the cathedral parish. If you can't find one near you, come join us next year!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Chocolate is Gone

Just after Christmas Chris gave me a gift: about 10-12 (I don't remember how many exactly) pieces of Godiva chocolates. Mmmm Mmm! There were two different kinds, but both were dark chocolate with raspberry and dark chocolate ganache inside. They were great. And Godiva chocolates are too good to eat quickly. Chris was amazed that I had them around for so long.

But no longer. I ate the last two pieces today after I got back from our walk at the Arboretum. They definitely hit the spot after a long walk.

The upside to this? Is there an upside to this, you ask? Yes, there's always an upside! This weekend is Easter! I wonder if we'll be visited by the Easter bunny??

Hope the Easter bunny comes to visit you! I'll let you know if we spot him (or her?) up here. :)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Weekend

We had a basically uneventful weekend. Friday we had dinner at my house (tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, with pesto!) then we went off to do some more registering. We now have two decent registries at two different stores. There are plenty of things on each that we probably still want to edit, add, or delete, but we've made progress. And we have a while yet. At this point the only shower planned is in June in Atlanta. So there is still plenty of time.

Saturday morning I had planned on doing a 3 mile walk, but I couldn't get myself out of bed. I went shopping instead and made sure I did plenty of walking there instead of moving my car between stores (outdoor shopping area, but much like a mall). I got some great deals too! The I headed over to Chris' house and we went for a walk around the park near his house. That was 4 miles and it was around 70 degrees, which didn't seem too bad when we started, but sure felt hot when we ended. We were exhausted when we got back, but managed to freshen up, have dinner, and start making honeymoon plans.

Today was Palm Sunday. In the past I have always been with the choir at church and I always played at the 11am Mass. But now I attend the 8:45 Mass and no longer play with the choir. Chris warned me ahead of time that the Bishop always does the 8:45 Mass on Palm Sunday and he starts outside and everyone goes out with him where he blesses the palms and then the whole congregation processes in. Well, I ended up being late. Luckily though, it was storming so bad this morning that the did the blessing of the Palms in the vestibule and did the Gospel reading from there, which I did hear. The was the processional and that's when I finally found Chris and grabbed a seat with him. The rest of today was relaxing: after church we sat around in the church hall with friends talking, then I went home and did some reading, took a short nap, and did a little practicing. Chris came by at 4:30 and we headed to a jewelry store to size his finger (wedding band shopping soon!), and then we went to dinner at P.F. Chang's (thanks, Paul!!).

This week we have no dance lesson, *frown*. We are going to try and talk with the restaurant we plan on having the rehearsal dinner at and then there are all sorts of church things this week beginning Wednesday night. Holy Week was always such a busy time of year for me, but now that I'm not as active a member of the music ministry, I'm not nearly as busy this time. I'm a little sad about that, but this will be a whole new experience.

I hope everyone has a great week. I have to head to bed now if I want to be able to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning! Good night!!