Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carl BloCH (we decided it must be said with an obnoxiously throaty noise by the way)

Today it snowed and rained like crazy, making the roads slippery and flooded and crazy--why on earth would you want to go outside today? But somehow we did... oh yeah, because Carolyn and Daniel got us tickets to that new Carl Bloch exhibit at the MOA. Admittedly I wasn't really in the mood, as much as I do love museums (not sarcastically--I did graduate in Humanities after all), but it was well worth the trip. For one, it's pretty much amazing that they were able to aquire all that they have there--getting paintings from other museums and collectors is one thing, but getting them straight off of church altarpieces is quite another. I still can't believe they found a way to pull it all off....

Anyway, there's not much I can say--it's one of those things you just have to witness for yourself--but it was wonderful for sure. It's not just a collection of neat religious paintings like I feared; Mr. Bloch was one seriously in-tune individual, and if you take the time to really experience his work, it can be life-changing. His paintings truly bear witness to the individual relationship of man, the world, nature, humanity, and spirituality, basically all my favorite things you know. ;) Yes, he has technical skill, but I think his true talent is the feeling he brings to his work. It's just touching, there's not much that you can say to explain the experience. Just go experience it yourself--it doesn't take long, and it's well worth the trip. Yes, art is absolutely awesome.
"God helps me; that's what I think, and then I'm calm."

What: Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand

Where: BYU Museum of Art

When: Nov. 12-Mar 7, 2011; extended hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Heard the Bells

Today I attended my parents' ward for church (my ward has disbanded until next year), which was actually pretty fun. It's been nearly four years since we've all been together like that--P.S. Carolyn is here!--so it was neat. We sang one of my favorites, I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY, and Stephanie Nielson shared her thoughts about it (yes Stephanie is in our ward), which was really unique, because Stephanie has gone through a similar tragedy, except that she is still here to share her love and testimony with all of us.

Although I haven't always been the biggest fan of the hymn itself (like Gladys Knight I struggle with LDS hymns at times), I have always absolutely LOVED the words--Longfellow is a freakin' genius in my opinion--and I love any words accompanied by a story, especially the very sad stories that some how end on a peaceful note.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow rocks because he was a family man and loved his wife, Fanny, more than anything in the world. One day when Fanny was putting locks of her children's into an envelope (they did that back in the Romantic days), she tried to seal the envelope with hot wax and somehow her dress caught on fire. Longfellow threw a rug over her and tried to save her, but she was too badly burned and died the next morning. Longfellow was also burned, so badly that he could not even attend her funeral. Losing Fanny was heartbreaking, as Longfellow described that his marriage to her was nearly perfect and after her death he was "inwardly bleeding to death." (I'm horrible, but how beautiful is that! I want a love like that, just sayin'). That Christmas Longfellow's journal read: "A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."

Not long after losing Fanny, Longfellow's oldest son, Charles, ran away to join the Union during the Civil War; as if Longfellow wasn't worried enough--his son having left without his blessing--he soon received word that Charles had been fatally wounded. Basically, his life sucked at this point, but instead of cursing God or becoming angry and bitter, Longfellow simply expressed his grief through his beautiful words: "God is not dead nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail the right prevail--with peace on earth good will to men."

This is one of my favorite versions of this lovely song. Merry Christmas. <3

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

one last breath

Yeah, I should be studying, but you know what? I have been sitting in this chair for Heaven knows how long... hours, days, dare say even weeks. This paper is killing me, slowly but surely. Fortunately death is only a day or so away, so not all is lost completely. I would gladly take on all of your seven testing center finals you are all complaining about--trust me, they are a million times easier, or at least kill less brain cells. Oh well, what can you do; I chose this route, so I will put up with the ulcers that come with it, and in the end I am actually rather proud of myself--if I ever finish. Anyway, yes, I have been sitting at my desk for hours on end for the past two or three weeks working on this theology research project; the only breaks I get are to go to the gym and shower. It's quite the life, let me tell ya.

However, last night I decided to take a few hours off and attend Christian's band concert at Timpview--now that was definitely worth the effort. Their bands are amazing for sure, but this one piece really stuck out to me; just before it started, Sean turned to me to inform me that it was at least 15 minutes long. Great, that's a good 15 minute nap--but there was no napping here, in fact, this piece was so beautiful I ended up crying instead--not out of sadness or happiness, but out of the sure beauty and power that accompanied the notes. I loved it. I don't have a recording, but if you Google it you can listen to it and see how wonderful it is: It's called "Russian Christmas Music," by Alfred Reed, 1944. Reed was commissioned to write a piece of "Russian music" for a concert in Denver to improve Soviet-American relations through premieres of Soviet and American works. Prokofiev's March, Op. 99 was supposed to be played, but they discovered that it had already been performed in the United States just a few weeks earlier. Thus, Reed was commissioned to write a new piece--his first composition for band--with only sixteen days before the concert. Of course, he did it, and in only eleven days--they had four days to learn it. Amazing. And he was only 23 years old. Yup, pretty awesome.

If I don't make it to Christmas next week, a very Merry Christmas now with some wonderful music. <3

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Feeling Chills

Kind of cool; according to this article, people who feel chills in response to music are more likely to be open to new experiences. In this study, people high in openness = creative, curious about many things, have active imaginations and like to play with ideas, much more frequently feel chills in response to music. Go figure--that would explain why I am seriously so cold all the time. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

at the moment

"Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting."
~John Russell

Yup, that pretty much sums up my current life right there. But at least it's not boring--well, it could be worse. Just a few more weeks...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Being Scottish Rocks

AC/DC just made my day--bagpipes and hard rock. I am especially loving the duet between the bagpipes and the electric guitar half-way through the song. Yeah. Awesome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

There are some days when it's not just the winter chill in the air that nips at your heart--you know those days, when you just need some warm fuzzy feelings, inside and out? Yeah, today was one of those days. This is why I love dogs: no matter what, I can always get a few extra warm fuzzies from my babies. <3

"Never shall I forget the times I spent with you; continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours."

~Ludwig Van Beethoven

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stress busters (part 2) | Mormon Times

Guess what: sometimes stress isn't so good on us. I know, it's like a drug--some of us, myself included, are quite addicted--but there comes a point when it turns into a bad thing. Finals? What? Yeah. I just spent the past week, nearly all day every day working on one single project for one single class--I haven't even seen the outside world for days! It's nice to have a break this week for Thanksgiving, but all I can think about it what I need to have done before I go back to school on Monday--and that's not what the holiday is about! I've seen too many of us crash and burn this time of year, and we don't have to; take a breather and enjoy life amid the stress. It makes the stress much more enjoyable, and life so much more fun. :) This article has a few suggestions--just try them, what could it hurt?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The singing will never be done

This weekend I attended the BYU Singers and Concert Choir show and was thoroughly enriched. I love music, just in case you didn't already know. It's what makes the world go round. I loved all the pieces--which is rather surprising, I'm not usually so into every one of them, but I felt that the program was extremely well done. However, I will have to pick one particular one out, if only because it is reminiscent of my dearest London Town--it's a song by Dominick Argento, but the poem is by Sigfried Sassoon, a favorite war poet. This is probably the happiest poem I have ever read coming out of Sassoon, haha--yet I still love it. There is so much beauty in these words, I love it! Enjoy:

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on--on--and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away . . . O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

April 1919

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

white fog

Sometimes we create this ideal of happiness, which is just fine--even needed to an extent--but the trouble is that then we have a hard time seeing happiness as anything but this single ideal that we've created. Happiness takes infinite forms, if only we would take the time to see them. Sometimes we project this ideal of happiness on others, and cannot accept that they are happy until they have all we desire for them--again, caring about someone and wanting the best for them is a GOOD thing--but sometimes we can be happy even without those things. Here's a dumb example: I think that happiness is a warm puppy, so I could go around thinking that everyone without a dog doesn't REALLY understand what happiness is, and I may want everyone to have a dog so that they can be happy. But the fact is, some people can be happy without a dog--some people may even want a dog, but maybe they can't have one right now, but that doesn't mean that they can't be happy while they are waiting for that wonderful day when they can have a dog. Even I could find happiness without a dog--it wouldn't be easy, trust me, but that doesn't mean it's impossible--I mean, why not? Why must we project this ideal of happiness on one another, and on ourselves? Happiness is more than one thing or moment--joy can be found everywhere, even the here and now. We don't just have to wait for the future. If you won't even try to see beyond this projection--however well intended it may be--you have of me, then you'll never be able to really see me. If you can't believe that I'm happy, then I'll never be happy in your eyes. Love is funny that way; sometimes we care so much that we can't see what may already be there. Let me be me, even if it's not as perfect as you would have hoped--in the end I bet it actually is better than you think it is.

"He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: NO BOUNDARIES, ONLY TRANSITIONS THROUGH ALL DISTANCES AND TIME..."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ask Dr. Elia: Stress busters (part 1) | Mormon Times

This is how I have been feeling as of late:
Yeah, I'm sure you know the feeling--it tends to come for me about this time of year, the time of impending term projects and crappy weather, so this article kind of hit home for me. I personally don't think stress is a bad thing--in fact, I am rather fond of it to some degree--but there comes a certain boiling point where it's just not healthy. Maybe I'm alone in this (although I highly doubt it), but I tend to believe that as a people today we are more stressed out than we need to be, so maybe it's time to step back and do something about it:

Ask Dr. Elia: Stress busters (part 1) | Mormon Times

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kid History

My Folklore teacher showed this video to us in class the other day, and thought it was pretty cute. Yes, I'm taking an academic class on folklore, and yes, we do study youtube from time to time. My major is awesome. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Poetry of the Earth

and more from Fountains Abbey--past the abbey part. See why I love it so much?

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther

Fountains Abbey

Can you have a favorite abbey? Sure, why not--after you've been to so many of them, you're authorized to make such claims. ;) So, this is my favorite abbey--Fountains Abbey! It's SOOOOO beautiful! Founded back in 1132, it operated for 400 years--until of course... can you guess? DISSOLUTION! (haha, those from our glorious trip will understand) Thank you King Henry, for such beautiful ruins. ;) Seriously, they really are quite beautiful.

And HUGE--way to make me feel short again. :P

Green Man!

This was actually pretty cool--it's a Green Man on one side, and an angel on the other. Loved it.

And such a beautiful day--can't beat that. <3

Friday, November 5, 2010

York Castle Museum

Oh my word, school is going to be the death of me... which is ironic, because it is also the life of me. One day I'll figure out how that works...

This week has been so busy! I seriously feel like I haven't even had time to breathe, it's ridiculous! So after getting my 10 page proposal done for my research paper (that's just the proposal--what the heck??!), I'm taking a break and going back to London Town--well, actually Yorkshire Town, but you get the idea. :)

So, how many museums can you take on one trip?! I mean, seriously--a museum every day it seems... and somehow I love it! :) This was by far my favorite one though, hands down; after Fountains Abbey, Tony dropped us off in downtown York to explore. Only three of us went to the York Castle Museum--the rest went shopping (of course, haha!). But let me tell you, we three had such a blast!
Can't you tell? Sitting on the pot--literally... wahaha! What an awesome museum!

Yes, it did have authentic smells...
And the history of feminine hygiene... what a fun exhibit. :P
and some more toilets...

Cathedral hygiene--how fitting!
Enough bathroom talk--time to head off to old time Yorkshire!
and... school? I thought we were taking a vacation!

Figures--forever workin' day and night.
It's like being put in prison--literally! Wait, how did I get back here?!?
Oh, right...
Village Idiot. Figures.
But I got out--found the weapons exhibit. ;)
Heck yes--I could handle a sword--think I could fit that in my suitcase? Oh yeah, I look good with that. ;)
Of course, how fitting--on to the wedding exhibit? I'm sure there's some metaphorical irony in this... but then again, I could definitely pull off the white dress too... ;)
Yeah, I'm old enough to admit that I would look dang good in a wedding dress--any takers? :P
Hey, and I'm always down with a man in uniform! Is that Wickham?
Suddenly we're back in Jane Austen--now how did that happen? Think I felt more comfortable in that prison cell... haha

But then again, I do love the costume timeline exhibits--so much fun! and York Castle has one of the largest costume collections in Britain--awesome! Check out the antique sewing machines--yeah, my Mom totally has one of those, only even more awesome, but these aren't too bad.
Oooooh, and vintage! LOVE IT!

I NEED this dress. Yes, it's a need.

Really our favorite part of the timeline were these swimsuits--why can't they make cute ones like these? Modest, flattering, and just adorable. Much better than some skimpy bikini. Changed my mind--THIS I NEED.

Such a cool place--best museum EVER. :D