Monday, December 31, 2012

"I Can Never Leave The Past Behind"

My hair was MADE for the 80s.
2012 began with a trip to the 1980s. My friend Estelle had an 80s themed hen party in Clonakilty, West Cork. It was definitely the most fun hen party I have attended! Everyone was lovely, we played games like "make a dress out of toilet paper" and hit the various bars in Clon. I must say, it was much more fun than a night out in Cork, which is always crowded, loud and generally yucky. We accidentally wandered into a 1920s themed club, which was SO MUCH FUN!

This was my background ALL YEAR :)

Of course, next I had to claim back the limelight for my birthday party in mid-January. I was so lucky that so many of my friends traveled from the UK to come and dress up as Disney characters in this house we rented for the weekend. At the time, my ickly doggie Millie was on the cusp of death, which did rather make things more stressful for me, but I still feel so privileged that my friends came and spent the weekend with me!

It was in February that Conor and Estelle got married - what a fabulous day! There was a TONNE of music, from a long lost Baroque hymn to a metal cover band. My sister, Alison played the cello and I made the cake. I can hardly believe it's been nearly a year since the wedding! The cake took three days to make and was comprised of 120 chocolate and red velvet cupcakes, plus one giant cupcake at the top and I made myself a cupcake print dress to wear on the day. Conor and Estelle are such a lovely couple and have so many wonderful friends! A great day was had by all. 

Also in this month, Alison and I went to Cobh to enjoy a night of free dinner and free accommodation thanks to a prize Alison had won! We went to Gilberts and ate until we could eat no more before falling into bed and eating breakfast in their penthouse the following morning!

In March, the inimitable Miss Ellie Murray turned the big one-eight! For a few days, our group entered the episode of Gavin & Stacey which has, up to very recently, been Ellie's life. It was there that Ellie and I embarked upon a walk to Costa, wrote a violin part for our song about Sherlock, watched Father Ted before rocking up to a rugby club to boogie the night away for her birthday party. Pam and Mick took us out for dinner and treated me to a very British pie in a pub. It was delicious. :) 

The in the days after the party, Ellie brought us to Cheshire to a tea room that was IN a cathedral. Not in a room in a cathedral - the WHOLE cathedral was a tea room! I gasped. It was amazing and shocking!

Creepy Amy clone.
We also went to 'The Lady Lever' for tea and a cake. It was there that Kylie and I shared one of my top cakes of 2012 - a delicious carrot cake. (Ellie and Cathrin shared a "chocolate cloud cake" which was also very impressive.) It was here that I came across the painting to the right, which looks UPSETTINGLY like me as a child. I showed the picture to my dad and sister upon returning home and both are as astonished and weirded out as I am. I feel like Homer in the episode with Mr Sparkle...

Torc Waterfall, Killarney.
Martha took a short trip to Killarney in April. It was there that I went on a run that is, to this day, the most special and beautiful run I have experienced. I went just after the sun came up, it was cold, crisp and dry and I ran around a lake into Muckross grounds. There were so many trees and fields, and it was just serenely quiet. On the way back to where we were staying, I walked through the ruins of an old chapel and grave yard that was dappled in sunlight through the trees. Even though I know it was public, it felt so hidden and secret. Definitely one of my stand-out moments of 2012.

Later on that month, I began working in Bantry, West Cork. Bantry is far, far away and I taught there two days a week on top of my own teaching in Cork. It was such a strange place and so weird to go and stay in a B&B once a week but it was really fun to get to listen to podcasts and music, and to read in the time I wasn't working. I met a lot of very nice people there, too! :) When I arrived to teach piano, this sign was waiting for me! --->

In May, I was completely delighted to welcome two of my dearest friends, Kylie and Melinda to my home for a relaxing few days. We went into Cork and examined the wares for sale, drank hot chocolate and the introduced me to Spaced for the first time. I also invited them to a special tea party followed by a trip to see Avengers Assemble with Martha and Orla.

In June, so much happened! Far too much for me to recount here, but most of it occurred within one week. Bevin came from America and so we spent a week showing her some of the more more exciting parts of England - like London, Warwick Castle, London, Southend-On-Sea, London and some other places.

Emilieee ♥
Here is a picture taken directly after the moment I got a phone call saying I was being offered a place in 3rd year of a BMus performance degree programme. So glad I was with my friends when it happened! :) It was at approximately the same time that we saw the Olympic flame run past the window, too!

Ellie at Electric for a scone and a spot of knitting.
I was so happy in July because Ellie-Murray came to stay with me for four days! We sat down, we ate yoghurts, we went to see Dark Knight Rises, we went shopping, to Blarney Castle, we drank tea. It was a jolly lovely holiday. We even went to the Cork Food Festival and toured the food, eating our way around Cork, essentially, and basking in the evening sun.

At the end of July (the 31st, to be specific!) Lucy, Mel, Emilie and I went to Leavesden Studios for Harry's birthday. It was lovely, we got to see all the beautiful props from the films and it was awe-inspiring to see even that small portion of all the work that went into the films. At the same time, Lucy and I shot a video for LeakyCon 2012 which meant that by the time the tour was over, we really NEEDED to go to TGI Friday for a cocktail. ;) Emilie kindly invited me to stay with her while in London, and I got to experience London during the Olympics (It was weird and quiet!)

Post launch party, the support team has a breather.
Immediately after our Harry Potter adventure (in August,) I took a train to Macclesfield to stay with Laura and Cathrin for their birthdays. They were also releasing their first Goodnight Astor album. We had a lovely few days of watching Gavin and Stacy and listening to the musical hits of the 80s, 90s and 00s before their show.

Apart from going back to college, September was an important month for me and a few of my friends, as we were fortunate enough to go to the launch of The Casual Vacancy. After an interview and Q&A, the occupants of the Southbank Centre were able to meet J.K. Rowling to have their books signed. Here is the seemingly rather innocuous of the very thing occurring...

October was a whirlwind of college work and teaching. I joined the 21st century and bought an iPhone.

On the 30th of November to the 2nd of December my friends and I travelled to Edinburgh for the Snow Ball and Lucy's 30th birthday. We dressed up as action heroes and villains for Lucy's birthday.

The next day, we went to the Snow Ball. Laura, Cathrin and I were performing with Harry and the Potters, Riddle TM and the Pumpkin Pasties.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your year was fabulous and you're all ready for 2013! I'm going to have to go off and think about my new year's resolutions! One will definitely be to blog more! :)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Minds of Others

Ready to read!
(No spoilers!)

Reading 'The Casual Vacancy' has (thus far - I'm not finished) made me think about how people's minds work. As a longtime hardcore fan of children's literature and, in more recent years, the works of such authors as Dodie Smith and Agatha Christie, I am used to a certain type of thinking. The opening pages were quite jarring to me, as everyone - everyone has an agenda. Everyone's thoughts veer towards the unkind and coarse or selfish with only a few exceptions.

Rather naively, this shocked me. Of course this is a work of fiction and contains heightened characteristics of human nature. I completely understand that, but it has made me think about thoughts and motives. Do people really have such dark thoughts when faces with a sudden death? Thoughts which have absolutely nothing to do with actual death?

At this point I should admit that I am a ruthless self-analyser. I question every thought I have and every action I take. Part of this just a trait of an anxious personality. The idea of causing anyone else unhappiness on purpose is horrifying to me and I'm deeply convinced that something terrible will happen if I ever make anyone suffer, intentionally or not. On the whole, though, I don't have nasty thoughts about people. I'm usually too busy being worried about something.

If someone had asked me sixty pages in to describe the book, I would have said that it's a grotesque depiction of the less attractive aspects of human nature. It sounds strong, but it really did catch me quite off-guard. The topic at the start of the book is sudden death, and how everyone copes or does not cope with it. It's a subject that I have some experience with, and am therefore interested in. Pagford's inhabitants are each self-obsessed, their thoughts are for themselves.

It's a good and very different exercise to be presented with a group of characters with whom I don't immediately sympathise. I'm looking forward to unwinding the rest of the book.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Rant About Being 'Old'

There must be different kinds of 'old.' When crawling home from recital at 10pm, dying to fall into bed on a Friday night, I looked around at the people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s who were perfectly happy to be out and about, in bars, in clubs, walking around. All I could think of was Miss Marple and my duvet.

I must be the kind of 'old' that a person can only be born as The kind that must wear earplugs in loud spaces, CANNOT stay up all night and just can't justify spending money on cheap shoes. I know I'm not alone. The fact is that I've surrounded myself with many friends who are exactly the same as me. It's the only way I can feel normal. It's just so difficult to ignore when I'm surrounded by 20-year-olds who eat pastries for lunch and can sit through a three hour recital from 8pm...

None of this is a problem, really. The only thing that worries me - and that has always worried me - is the inordinate amount of trouble I have with my body. You know, whether it's back problems, muscle stiffness, torn cartilage or various viruses and infections, I'm generally crocked. I know people in their 70s who are generally healthier than I am.

It's all starting to feel a little bit futile. You know, as soon as I get going with a good running routine, I become ill, and my progress is hindered. As soon as I get into a good cycling-to-college routine, I barely have enough energy to go to the bathroom, let alone cycle anywhere.

If this is what I'm like in my 20s and teens, what is ahead of me? I'm a fan of positive thinking, it got me to 5K and kept me there for quite a while, but let's be realistic. I'm going to be unwell for the rest of my life. And there does reach a point where you just stop talking about it because you feel that people won't believe you. I have at least one friend who I know doesn't believe me when I talk about what's wrong with me at any given moment, so I just stopped telling her.

Rationally, though, I'm not sure why people would believe me. If you, in your life, feel alright most of the time, I'm not sure how you could understand a seemingly healthy person having all of these random and unrelated problems. Personally, I currently can't imagine what it would be like to feel just totally 'ok.' Not brilliant. Not amazing. Just base-level-fine.

This blog went in a direction I didn't expect it to go...

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Beginning and JOY

I posted a while back about starting singing with a new teacher, and how she encouraged me to apply for various courses immediately. Well, I did! And I was accepted straight into the third year of a four-year Bachelor of Music (Hons)! It was a bit of a whirlwind of practice, new repertoire and technique and working very, very hard indeed and I am currently delighted, daunted and rearing to go!

The last two days have been induction talks with first years, and the one other lady in my position. Unlike the first time I went to university (I have a BA in Music and Drama and Theatre Studies), I've just felt incredibly privileged to be able to attend this college. That's not to say that I wasn't excited and full of wonder the first time around - I definitely was! Arguably, the last few years of working, singing and trying to make a living have taught me just how vitally important the right degree is.

This time I'm attending a conservatoire, as opposed to a university. This means that the focus is on performance, and only people who are serious about pursuing a career in performance are studying there. The difference, even in the induction days, is wonderful! The staff have been extremely clear on all aspects of student life at the college, and there appears to be an excellent pastoral care system. The timetable is FULL and the onus is on the individual to plan their practice times. There was a good talk about how to maximise your practice times. Once I've gotten into a groove again after the summer, I may write a bit about this.

It's so nice to be around musicians! There was a lovely moment today when we were brought to the library for a little tour. At the end the librarian said that we could go upstairs to look at the sheet music for our individual instruments and so we all proceeded calmly up the stairs... but once we got to the top, we all practically RAN to our sections and all that could be heard were 'squees' and 'aws' and excitement! It is the first time that I have ever witnessed anyone having the same reaction that I do to sheet music! The singers and I paced up and down the vocal and opera sections in jubilation, pulling out our favourites and potential new favourites to show each other!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I made a song! Have it for free!

The last few weeks have been different! I spent a week in England with friends seeing all of the touristy parts of London that I'd never actually seen before. It was definitely different to see the city from that point view, instead of just somewhere I have to be for a show or event.

Ellie and I pose by Tower Bridge after a rainy production of Henry V in the Globe!

Since then, I've been recovering from the dreaded strep throat and hosting the above Ellie for a few days of fun here in Cork.

While I was in Southend-On-Sea, I got a phone call from a university I'd auditioned for. They offered me a place in 3rd year of the four-year degree programme! Back to college - woooooooohhhmygod. Delight and apprehension are flooding me! Think of all the new stationary that awaits....

In order to keep myself from going nuts with trying to imagine myself back in college, I've been trying to stay creative. Last week, I collaborated on a song with Belfast musician, Martin Byrne. The song is free to download, so please have a listen! It's freeeee and I really like it!

Martin is a composer who created a project last year called "Song a Day for a Year" (SADFAY). I featured on his October album then, and this year he's making a Song a Week for a Year (SAWFAY.) Both are incredible projects and it's interesting to see how versatile the styles of music that he comes up with are, considering the time scale he works to.

Obligatory visit to Blarney Castle

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mrs Sparkly's Ten Commandments Award

It's so nice when the people you know acknowledge your blog! I sometimes feel I'm writing to myself (which is fine. I'm comfortable with self-communication.) Thank you Evin, from Sláinte Cork for nominating me for Mrs Sparky's Ten Commandments AwardWhat’s involved? I need to answer some questions about myself, and here we go…
*Describe yourself in 7 words:
Friendly, interested, loving, sincere, enthusiastic, eccentric, weird.
*What keeps you up at night?
Planning adventures and projects. Sometimes I'll start writing little songs in my head or stories, sometimes I get really involved. It's a problem that I get really excited about things when I'm trying to sleep, because I just want to get up and sing. Someone sleeps next to the music room in my house, so I've had to be really strict about no late-night song-writing. (Which, now that I think about it, could account for my lower song output!)
*Whom would you like to be?
The best version of Amy. It's my ambition to keep trying to be a better person, with better skills. I have a loooong way to go, but I'm trying!
*What am I wearing right now?
But with a black and gold waist-cinching belt, and black tights. Spectacles. A head of curly brown hair, and a smile.
*What scares you?
  • Greed, ignorance. 
  • Being misinterpreted.
  • Animal cruelty. 
  • The quest for happiness - not fully knowing if I'm happy now or if it's something that's coming later. 
  • The concept that I'm wasting my life, that I'm spreading myself too thin and I should be focusing just on singing.
  • Artistic confinement.

*What are the best and worst things about blogging?
Best: It's nice to have a place to just get it all down. It doesn't matter if no one reads it, it's a thought that I had and it's good to be able to revisit ideas and events with another frame of mind.

Worst: Not being able to do it while I'm running. I write the best mental blogs when I'm running!
*If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?
I'd like to be more able to relax, and to suffer less joint and muscle pain.

*Slankets, yes or no?
No. They seem like such a good idea in theory... but no.
*Tell us something about the person who nominated you.
Evin has beautiful eyes and a blogging addiction. She has lovely, long, straight hair and looks completely different when it's up or down. In her apartment, Evin has a Little Liam, a fishy chair, and a staple gun, which she uses to staple things, and to ward off clowns with suspicious-smelling fridge foods.
My next step in this award is to nominate 10 others.

These are my favourites, and my friends! I really hope that you'll all give it a go! :)

The TARDIS in my Mind:

The red red robin goes blog blog blogging along:

Goodnight Boutique:

The Smallest Smallholding:

This Yorkshire Life:

The Savage Searching:


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Ripping Yarn!

Every night before I go to bed, I'm writing down everything I've done in bullet-points. I want to look back and not wonder what I did for the whole of June.

The thing is, I've been a bit under the weather for about a week now, so most of what's up there is:

  • Poirot.
  • Crocheted a snowflake.
  • Made brownies.

It's not quite as productive as I'd hoped! I also have a code. If I had a singing lesson: (Y) If I did singing practice: (X) and if I went for a 30 minute run ( ✔). I'm also trying to do a plank every day and build up my time. I have practically no core strength! I hit 60 seconds this week and was SO HAPPY!

Considering I can't do a lot of running around at the moment, I've been doing a lot of knitting and learning to crochet!  Here are a few of the things I've been making!

Add caption
I love this headband! I made it in a really nice earthy green aran yarn (which was on sale!!)

Such is my amazing talent at crochet that I can follow the same pattern and come up with two completely different snowflakes. That's talent, right? Oh... you mean that's NOT mean to happen?!

Again, I followed the same crochet pattern and came up with different sizes of jumpers. The teaspoon is for scale. Aren't they sweet? They're a present for a local bar/restaurant in Cork. :)

This was to show the difference between using usual acrylic yarn and using proper cotton thread. The yarn looks nicer with this pattern, I think. 

I've been making this quilt for about four years. I'm nowhere near done! Maybe this will be the year that it finally gets done? It seems that a patchwork quilt is a massive undertaking. I wish I'd known this four years earlier... It's pretty, though. And I've learned to follow patterns and to make new stitches through making this. Following a varying pattern is way more fun that plain garter stitch.

Hopefully I'll recover in the next few days, and I can post all about my adventured with avocado chocolate mousse... :D x

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Meaning of Life

At the end of this week, I am FINALLY going to sit down and watch The Great Dictator. I love Charlie Chaplin. This speech will never stop being relevant, it's incredible.

"You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful! To make this life a wonderful adventure!"

Just listen. Then live.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Le Petit Chat Noir Vintage Fair

The greeting-ladies set the tone for the event with
 their fabulous hair and make-up..
On Sunday, Cork saw it's only proper vintage fair arrive at the Flying Enterprise complete with victory rolls and bunting. I have several friends in the UK who craft and sell at vintage fairs and I wonder all the time why we don't have more of them here. It seems that (in Cork, at least) there is quite a strong interest in the vintage and classic.

Just inside the door I found Aoife from Potty But Posh. Aoife makes beautiful hats, as I learned at the wedding of a mutual friend in February. (I'd meandered over to the table she was sitting at because all the ladies had such  amazing headwear!)

Below are some examples of  Aoife's work. She also sells her hats and headpieces in  Miss Daisy Blue, in the English Market in Cork. Miss Daisy Blue is a vintage clothes shop and also had a stall set up at the fair.

Potty But Posh
Potty but Posh

A treasure-trove, as usual!

This was a stall by one of my favourite shops in Cork (also in the Market!) Peacock and Ruby had a selection of their fine vintage-style wears on display. I love this shop so much and always bring friends to stop in when they visit from outside of Cork.

The 'peacock' from Peacock and Ruby

A purchase! From 'The Gilded Rose'
One of my favourite stalls was this one called 'The Gilded Rose,' which was run by a very nice lady! We had a great chat about her crocheted flowers and I ended up buying the pale blue barrette you see above

Congratulations, Le Chat Noir! It was a lovely event - I hope we'll see more soon!

I thought these hairbands were
 very cure and great value for money!
A selection of hand-crocheted soft-furnishings by 'Flour'

This was unusual! Historical coins. 

These cakes were INCREDIBLE! I had a mint grasshopper mini
cupcake. Seriously - Swell, if you're reading: can I PLEASE have
the recipe?!

Note: This is how you set out an eye-catching table! These designs are by Silkscreen Sweetie. She wins bonus points from me for having bunting... :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

International Yarn Bombing Day

 This morning my knitting group engaged in a spot of 'Yarn Bombing' in Electric. We subtly knitted bits and stuck them to things. I am responsible for the hideous tea cosy you see pictured. Liz from Reckless Knitting made the cake-stand cosy! 
The staff at Electric must have liked them, though, as they gave my my latte for free! And later they tweeted that if my knitting group knits them a jumper, we'll get a free lunch each! There are plans in motion...

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Organise Your Fridge in 3 Easy Steps

 Dear friends,

In the interest of inspiring others (and in shaming myself into action) I am letting you see the awful state of my fridge.
Look at it. It's awful. There's so much food crammed in there and none of it is organised.

In my defense, it's been a crazy few weeks and I'm not the only person who lives here. Most of that food is not mine.

Recently on Pinterest I saw a picture of someone's freezer, which had plastic baskets keeping it tidy. I had to try this! In a pound shop I found exactly the right sort of baskets for just €1.50 each!

Is this not a most beautiful sight?

Empty the fridge and throw out ANYTHING that needs to go, or that won't get used. Any dairy products that are past their use-by date need to go. Condiment bottles that are nearly empty - let them go. 


Clean, scour, scrub! Take out the shelves, clean and dry them, wash the sides down and make sure it's all ready for the food.

Fill the baskets. Use one for cheeses, one for vegetables, one for jars, etc. Make sure that the bottom of all jars, bottles and cartons are clean before you put them back in the fridge

Vegetable basket.
The cheese basket.

This has worked out so well! And it's lovely to know exactly what's in there. I'm hoping that the baskets will keep things a little neater, and show more clearly how much of each thing we have. :)

The finished product! 

I'd love to know if you try this! Let me know how it works out! :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky.

When I first heard Duke Special's cover of Radiohead's incredible 'Lucky' I wanted to learn it and sing it. Even before it was over, I knew that I couldn't give this song what it needs. As a performer, I'm not restrained enough to not let all my thoughts come straight though and ruin it. As a human being, I don't have enough wisdom to do this song justice. (This is not a love post for the Duke. That will come on a different day.)

What's so striking about this song is that we know what it's about - not from the lyrics, but from the marriage of the music and lyrics.

I think that most people have been in the place this song is about. We're walking through life smiling and talking and doing things. To others it might seem that everything is going our way, but inside we're feeling dark. It's going through the motions, doing your very best not to alert anyone to how you're feeling, because if you're honest with yourself, you don't know what this feeling is, how to fix it or how long it will last.

"Pull me out of the aircrash,
Pull me out of the lake
'Cause I'm your superhero
And we are standing on the edge..."

There's a very tangible sense of restraint through this song. The narrator never says anything directly, or at least he never says anything that we can make full sense of. He's dancing around the issue. Nothing is certain with him: he's ok, he's not sure if he's ok.

"I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll this time,
I feel my luck could change..."

In the original Radiohead version, the track is introduced by a sort of high-pitched scratchy noise which remains throughout most of the song. It reminds me of a device sometimes used to make listeners feel uncomfortable. If you ever watch a horror movie, there may be a subtle high-pitched sound - as you're focused on other things, you're not aware that you're getting more and more anxious because of this persistent noise. I think it's all linked in to the psychological aspect of this song. It's getting right in there, and explaining something that most people can't put into words.

In the Duke Special, the accompaniment is so beautiful. It's very measured and again, very restrained. It supports what's happening with the voice, but has its own story to tell. To me there's a sense that it wants to just go absolutely insane with running chords and scales. There's a slight hint of this coming through around 3 minutes in, where the piano wants to take off, but it restrains it. (In the Radiohead version, there's a very tortured guitar with a lot to say. It almost sound like it's crying.)

All in all, it's pretty sad. I want the guy in the song to just scream and shout and run until he can get this feeling out of him. I want the music to rage and the voice to cry what it's really feeling.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crochet, flowers and summer time!

St. Brigid Anemones
Huge weights have been lifted off my chest. Tonight I feel lighter and less restricted than I have in months. As of today I'm down to teaching one day per week until the end of June, though I'm still studying and going to lessons for various music exams and auditions coming up.

The decision to fill this summer with as few travel plans as possible came quite naturally after an intensely busy travel year last year. Since Christmas I've sorely felt the need of a nice quiet sit down on my own. There will, of course be adventures with friends in the UK, but for my health and sanity, I need a few weeks of calm, baking and crafting.

My fabulous Cork KnitUp group has begun again after a slow start to the year and I am enjoying it so much! About two weeks ago, the lovely Hilary taught me to crochet and it's really pulled me though these tough final weeks of work.
On Saturday we had our biggest turn out yet with around eight crafters coming! I'm really looking forward to the group every Saturday and it's motivating me to finish projects!

For my birthday I was given a Cath Kidston crochet cusion kit by my friend Orla so that's what I've mostly been working on for the last fortnight. I can't wait for it to be finished and on my bed. :)

Tonight after walking my dog, the neglected packets of seeds that I bought weeks ago called to me. I planted at least 48 sunflower seeds, lettuce, love-in-a-mist, cornflowers and nasturtiums as the sun went down (and the midges came out.) I'm loving the garden right now. The dozens of bulbs I planted in the spring are finally coming into bloom and it's so satisfying!! My herbs are doing really well too and all of the fruit bushes are heavy with unripe berries! 

Singing-wise, things seem to be going well. I had a lesson today,though I was quite worried about it beforehand because I didn't feel I'd done enough practice. I hate the feeling that I could have put more work in. This week was CRAZY with teaching and exams, though, so I really didn't have more time. This week I intend to put in consistent work every day. I'll need to do an hour every day of actual singing.

I find that when I'm out running, most of what I think about is singing. Posture, breathing, mouth shape, facial muscles, placement of breath, meanings of songs and ideas for compositions and concerts are all on my mind for the 50 minutes that I spend out of the house. I think that must be the reason why I'm improving despite not having enough time for long practices.

Having this week's lesson over with is contributing to my feeling of lightness. :) I am so content right now. It's late, but I don't have to be up for any particular reason in the morning, other than to run. :) Leisure!

How are your summers coming together, blog friends? Will they be chilled out, or jam-packed? (Mm...jam..)