Monday, May 21, 2012

Violin Virtuoso

The girls' school year is wrapping up rapidly, and that means a flurry of activities for all of us.  For Maggie that meant her spring orchestra concert, which took place last week.  Here she is at home before the concert, warming up:

video

And here is the full sixth-grade orchestra playing the same song.  Maggie is on the left, closest to the edge of the stage, although it is hard to tell who anyone is because of the brightness of the stage lights. 

video

The song is Rite at Stonehenge by Elliot Del Borgo.

Maggie (and the orchestra as a whole) has progressed a lot since learning their first scale at the beginning of the year.  Way to go, Maggie!  You've stuck with it, and we are very proud of you! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Golden Week(s)

After 20 straight months of graduate schoolwork, my summer vacation is here!  These first two weeks I am referring to as "The Golden Week" because I am out of school, but my kids are not.  Time to get refreshed and ready for the remaining twelve weeks of rousing choruses of , "I'm bored!", "She's won't leave me alone!", and "She won't play with me!"  But that's still a week and a half away, so I'm not thinking about that now!

This semester was grueling.  Everyone keeps saying how quickly graduate school has passed for me, but I have to tell you, it's been moving like a snail for me these last few months.  I think this is partly because of the lack of summer break last year (I took a summer class) and the pressure of taking the comprehensive exam this last April.  I passed my exam, by the way, if you hadn't heard me shouting joyfully from the top of the roof last week.  Here's a wordle of my comprehensive exam essay:

(Click to see a larger version that you might be able to read the small words on)
Can you guess what the topic was?  The question was quite broad, and many of the folks I talked with later took it in a completely different direction than I did, but there wasn't really a right or wrong answer.  I'm just glad it's finished. 

The weekend I wrote the exam ended up being a severe weather weekend, so Jerry and the girls stayed close to home / storm shelter and had a Harry Potter movie marathon (8 films in 2 days) while I wrote away in the next room.  It wasn't what we planned, but it worked.  One of my classmates in Norman had to leave his computer as the tornado came through - it blew out his windows, but once it passed he was able to go right back to typing.  The only casualty we had here was a result of the exam and not the weather:  my brain - it is officially turned to mush.  My next paper after the exam was just gibberish - I have reached my maximum brain capacity, so it is good that I don't have classes again until the fall.  In fact, I don't plan on using words made up of more than eight letters all summer long if I can help it.  I've got to let those neurons recover! 

So, what do I plan to do this summer?  I'd like to catch up on some scrapbooking, of course.  I am going on a scrapbooking retreat with my lovely sister in August to make sure that something gets done, but I hope to get started well before then.  Cleaning out closets is also high up on the list.  I'm feeling a massive clean sweep coming on.  I think we are going to participate in swim team again, although that will be held pretty loosely this summer.  We want to make plenty of time to see family.  We put a down payment on family camp in Colorado so we can get away and relax together out of the summer heat.  It promises to be more relaxed than last summer - and should even allow some time for (dare I say it?) blogging!