Saturday, February 28, 2009


Fridays, apparently, are when I post a random poem going through my mind that I like. I am continuing this from last week, not because I thought it was a good idea, but because it just happened.

I'm currently listening to my iPod, which houses my favorite poems set to music. These two came on and I felt like sharing.

She walks in Beauty
George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron. 1788–1824

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,—
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

"She Walks in Beauty" has always been a favorite of mine since High School and while I was setting this text, a friend of mine at the time set it too. I thought that his was "perfect" and decided that what I was going to say would not add to what has been said. So I didn't finish.

The Turtle Dove
English Folksong

Fare you well, my dear, I must be gone,
And leave you for a while;
If I roam away I'll come back again,
Though I roam ten thousand miles, my dear,
Though I roam ten thousand miles.

So fair thou art, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I;
But I never will prove false to the bonny lass I love,
Till the stars fall from the sky, my dear,
Till the stars fall from the sky.

The sea will never run dry, my dear,
Nor the rocks melt with the sun,
But I never will prove false to the bonny lass I love,
Till all these things be done, my dear,
Till all these things be done.

O yonder doth sit that little turtle dove,
He doth sit on yonder high tree,
A-making a moan for the loss of his love,
As I will do for thee, my dear,
As I will do for thee.

A friend introduced this poem to me via his arrangement of the song. I don't recall his arrangement, but I like the song and now the poem.

What do these poems have to do with each other, beside their proximity on my playlist? Love. True love. I'll skip to the end.

They are cheesey, yes, but that's why it's perfect for music. The schmaltz leaves and all that's left is the beauty of the intention. I will leave with a translation of the cheesiest of them all, but when I hear the music, I melt.

Amor de Mi Alma
Garcilaso de la Vega

I was born to love only you;
My soul has formed you to its measure;
I want you as a garment for my soul.

Your very image is written on my soul;
Such indescribable intimacy
I hide even from you.

All that I have, I owe to you;
For you I was born, for you I live,
For you I must die, and for you I give my last breath.

"She Walks in Beauty" set by Eric W. Barnum
"Turtle Dove" set by R Vaughan Williams
"Amor De Mi Alma" set by Z. Randall Stroope

Friday, February 27, 2009

More on happiness

I may have blogged about this before, I can't remember...

Music has always been one of those things in my life that I just assumed made me happy. I never felt happy because of it and actually kind of disliked rehearsals and practicing etc. However, when there would be those questions on aptitude surveys and such, even though music didn't make me "happy," I always put it as my happiest moments.

Well, I've since realized that I am not happy about anything. Nothing makes me "happy."

After I came to this realization, and now that I'm not singing or playing or directing or studying any music, I sing incessantly. It brings me joy.

I just walked down the hallway at work and sang the whole song, "On the Street Where You Live."

I love every second of it. I'm not ashamed to say that I was picturing someone coming out of an office, even though they should have been gone hours ago, and marvelling at my pipes. (I'm quite loud when I want to be). I did have a second of thinking that someone would be thinking, "I thought he said he has a degree in singing." But that was quickly shunned by my childish imaginings.

It was great.

I can honestly say that sing and playing music is when I am most happy.


Why did you buy the shoes you are wearing?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Having a 3-year-old in your life helps put things in perspective.

I have a recording of her singing, "You Are My Sunshine." It makes me happy when skies are grey. I played it today while on lunch #2 and it made me smile and, after lunch, I couldn't stop singing. Thanks, B!

She also really likes, "Tomorrow" from Annie. It's an attrocious song. I know so many love it, but it's too high for any of those girls to scream and it's so over done.

I love it. When I hear Bella singing "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow!" a full third lower than they should be, my heart melts. Sister, if you ever ask me to give her voice lessons, I'll cry.

All this was because another friend kicked the bucket this week. That's two in two weeks. This lady is a woman I deeply admired. She was my accompanist for EVERYTHING I did at Mankato. We sang at a nursing home, Senior Recital, Dozens of choir concerts, hundreds of lessons and studio classes. She, aside from Travis, was the only person I knew who could sightread some really challenging stuff and make it sound excellent, and goof around with anything and make that sound good. She sightread, "Les papillons" by....E. Chausson and "Der Erlk├Ânig" by Schubert.

She was so much fun. I think half of my practice times with her we sat and talked about what was going on. We would go get coffee instead or hangout at "Stomper's." I've missed her so much and never contacted her. Even after she fell ill a while back. I guess that's the real reason I mourn. I know that I will see her again, I believe 1 Corinthians 15 is true, but I wasn't the friend that I would have wanted or needed.

I guess that's why we live life, to make those mistakes and learn from them, being careful to not dwell on them. I'll miss you Jennifer and Anna. You both were talented keyboardists who were cut off too soon. But you will join Bach and, maybe Schubert and Chausson, and lead the singing so that when it's my turn (hopefully, many... many years from now), there'll be a strong Bass section for me to join.

But for the meantime, I'll stick with "You Are My Sunshine," "Tomorrow" and "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider."

I give up

I can't take it anymore.
I just found out that a friend from undergrad died from pneumonia!

Too much,
too young.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

i thank You God -- E. E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite
which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are

I heart that poem

The picture fills in...

A while back, I was having a really bad day and needed to see "people." I didn't care who, just people. I don't remember what all I did, but part of what I did was go to the Mall of America. I walked around there for a while before heading to bed because there were people around, and shopping makes me feel better.

Unfortunately, it isn't shopping that makes me feel better, but the buying.

Well, I passed by a puzzle store and realized that when Becky and I were dating, I gave her an impossible puzzle. It was a puzzle of flying pigs. It was double-sided and I don't think it contained any edge pieces. She had that on her bedroom floor for months. Well, I decided to try it again.

I went in there searching for a puzzle that she and I could do together and not annoy us for the rest of our lives, like the flying pigs. So, I looked around and saw a ton of great puzzles, but they were almost all landscape or Thomas Kinkade puzzles. Then I saw it. The Wizard of Oz!

Last year, Becky and I read "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" to each other and thought it a great story. Well, as I looked at the puzzle, I realized that this painting was using the story from the book. Dorothy had silver shoes, not ruby. There was a wolf and a giant cat, and the queen mouse. It is really neat. It even plays on the color scheme of the book moving from blues to greens. One of the munchkins is L. Frank Baum reading the book to his kids!

We have had this puzzle scattered across our living room for a few weeks (no vacuuming! Gross!) and tonight, we have seen the puzzle move from a bunch of separate chunks into a picture. We aren't done yet, but we are 3/4 of the way there.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I was looking at an old post and saw the label for that post, "2 kinds of ice cream."  It comes from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," a musical that I have only seen one scene.  

When I was in high school, I had a crush on a budding young actress named Keri(th).  Yes, we just called her Keri, but her name was Kerith.  She was in a ton of Children's Theatre productions and one was the aforementioned musical.  She showed it to us, or at least the scene in which the song, "Happiness (is...)," is sung.  The only lyrics I recall from it is, "Happiness is two kinds of ice cream..."  I've been singing that phrase for 15 years and always thought it was stupid, but cute.

While I was at Normandale, one of the guys I hung out with in the music department really liked Mitch Hedberg and would rephrase a quote*, "I've got a roll of lifesavers in my pocket and red's next!"  Meaning, that things are going well.  I've got everything going for me, because I've got my favorite Lifesaver coming up next.  Again, funny, but no real substance to that philosophy.

A friend chatted me tonight.  Her husband was laid-off in November and she hasn't been working for a few years since her kids, now 6 and 3, were born.  I told her about my job and that I'm working nights.  I mentioned that it's not that bad since it's only temporary.  She then asked me how to get an attitude like that, because her outlook is so grim.  I didn't have a good answer.

Then I thought about people who find happiness in the trivial and realize that they've got it going on.  The people who find happiness in lifesavers and ice cream realize that there's a lot of garbage happening in the world and we need to create the happiness we seek.  Maybe that "gratitude journal" has more to it than meets the eye.  I will revisit that and maybe suggest it to my friend.

*I believe the actual quote is..."Man, I can't wait to get off this stage, cause there's a roll of lifesavers in my pocket, and pineapple is next."  My friend didn't like pineapple, so he used red instead.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


In two situations in the last week, or so, I've used my brilliant powers of etymology for the good of humanity.

OK, seriously, I geeked out and there was some massive fallout.  

One, my boss and I were talking about religion and said something about bigomy, or polygamy.  He said that one was for multiple spouses and the other for multiple wives but couldn't remember which.  I said that bigamy was for 2 spouses, whereas polygamy was for 2 or more.  The "bi" being 2 and the poly being "many."

Friday, Beck and I were talking and I used the word philanthropy.  She looked at me funny and I said, phil is "love," like philosophy or Philadelphia and anthropy is from anthropos (or something like it) for "man" or humanity.  

I like my geekiness.

Friday, February 13, 2009


So today my car died while I was driving to Anna's memorial service.  I didn't make it there.  My car stalled on 35W, just before rush hour.  I called a tow company, $150 later, I was sitting at my mom and dad's place.  Luckily, my dad's a mechanic of sorts (he hasn't been a professional mechanic for a while, but still fixes his kids' cars, except for California Boy).

Anyway, that was the downer, which clouded the rest of my day.  However, I got to go to the Sport's Page with some former coworkers and had a blast!  I was with them for 4 hours and would have been there longer, but they started LOUD karaoke.

On my way there, I decided to check out the 2 martial arts places in that same strip mall.  One was open and was a Kung Fu place by the name of Shaolin.  Of course, I assumed that it was just a name, but apparently there are some roots to the actual Shaolin monastery.  I'm still doubtful.

In the '90's, Kung Fu: the legend continues was on TV and I desperately (secretly) wanted to learn all the Kung Fu stuff.  I did make a few calls, but was discouraged due to cost and lack of physical ability.  I had this idea that it would make my hip problems less intense, but never went for it.  I do remember my mom encouraging me though.  Huh.  Maybe I should have.*

Anyway, enough with the flashback.  Beck and I are looking for a "couple" thing to do.  We thought about a photography class, but once Becky mentioned that she thought Kickboxing or another martial art would be fun, I was dead set on that.  Not only would it serve as "couple time," but it would fulfill that childhood dream of kicking bad guys' butts AND force me into doing something active while letting out any agression I have.  The only problem, aside from cost, is getting my butt kicked by someone half my weight.  Becky's a lot tougher than she looks and I don't want to get hurt.

That's my rant for tonight.  Maybe I'll have something to actually write about instead of a little rant.  Good night.

*I did take a few classes of Tae kwon do, but that was limited to an after school thing and the teacher only showed up a few times.  Not worth the price of admission, which we received back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

St Augustine

This post isn't about St. Augustine, as the title would lead you to believe, but it contains a "quote" of his.

Last week, B. Hussein Obama (lol!) quoted Augustine saying, "Pray as if it all depended on God, but work as if it all depended on you." He doesn't explain it, because he's a politician, but I think Augustine meant that we are the answers to those prayers. As in, if you start praying for the homeless, then soon, you will realize that you can volunteer at the Dorsi Day center and help with the solution. We are the hands of God.

I am writing this, not because I think Mr. Obama was brilliant for quoting Augustine, but rather, this is one of the few times that a politician preached to me.

A friend killed herself last week and it's been really tough on me. Much harder than I ever thought it would. I found out that she had attempted suicide before and has been told that she just needed to pray harder, that praying would cure her of whatever illness she succumbed to. What they missed was that she was praying hard, very hard--and neither we, nor she, were doing the work.

I strongly doubt that if I was a better friend she would still be here. I very strongly doubt that if anyone else said things differently, she would still be here. I don't think anyone could have prevented this but her. It just dawned on me how these two coincided.

So I will close with more of St. Augustine:
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


As I've whined before, my schedule is such that I sit around a lot.  Because I'm tired of whining, I started going out more than I used to, instead of just sitting around at home.

Thursday, I went out with a friend to TGI Friday's for dinner, then Becky was home from work.  So the three of us played some Guitar Hero and went out for pie with some mutual friends.  The mutual friends had their car broken into and they REALLY needed pie.

Friday, Becky and I finished dinner and Becky got a call from a friend.  I wasn't in the mood for deciding what we were going to do, so I suggested we join them for dinner. (Yes, I realize that we invited ourselves... but...)  Apparently, they were inviting us, but Becky didn't tell me that until I apologized for inviting ourselves to their date.

Tomorrow, or rather, tonight... we have a choir party for the choir I used to direct.  Ooh, and a concert for the choir that I would have been in, but I wanted some time with my wife.

Sunday, I'm hanging out with the kids from church.  I think we are going lazer tagging, mini-golfing and general fun having at GrandSlam.

Next week, I have two whole happy hours!  I am making the guys from my shift go out after work on Wed.  On Thursday, I will hang out with my former coworkers from the credit union.  I'm really excited, but I asked another friend to go out with me rock climbing.  I guess there is too much fun had, right?  I'll have to cancel.  :-(

With the funeral coming up this week, I may be able to see some old friends.  Huh.  That's weird that I'm looking forward to a funeral.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I've been playing "Kingdom Hearts 2" lately. I'm not a big fan, but there's some interesting stuff. I'll forgo the details of the game, I'm sure that there's a plot line somewhere online, but what I would like to mention is one line that is repeated and I'll paraphrase here:

His heart has been made up. There is no standing in the way of a heart.

This has been something I've been pondering a lot lately and today, it has become more poignant.

Last night, a friend from seminary took her life.

Now when I say friend, I realize that I'm exaggerating. She and I never were close. In fact, I checked facebook tonight and found that she had deleted me from her friends, or I never added her to my friend list. This is beside the point, because we were supposed to hang out with some mutual friends tonight and I knew that she was doing poorly, so I wanted to see how she was.

I guess I found my answer. She is not doing well.

She will be missed. She was loved by people I love. She will be missed by people I miss. But one thing I need to keep in mind, and I hope they keep in mind: Her heart was been made up long ago; there is no standing in the way of a decided heart.