Vermont Tomorrow

Ryan & I are off to Vermont this weekend! When we chose to elope back in July, we had assured his parents that we would be excited for a small family party with Ryan’s family & friends, and his parents are up there already. I am excited to see everyone, and I feel really fortunate that his parents & family would take the time to plan something for us, since we’ve been pretty swamped.

I get anxious during long car rides because I tend to get carsick (hello back roads), but I don’t really mind the drive through Vermont, especially this time of year. We plan on taking as many pictures as our memory card lets us, of both the drive & the reception. Knowing Ryan’s family, we’ll probably be doing something outdoorsy on one of the days, and there’s always good food & beer involved throughout the visits.

Here are the following CDs I have in my car to listen to:

1) Ariana Grande- Sweetner
2) Adele- 25
3) The Story So Far (self-titled)
4) Kacey Musgraves- Golden Hour
5) Brand New- Deja Entendu

We might have to update my cd collection soon…

Stay tuned for pictures to come of our journey!

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My Summers Growing Up

I am a “nerd”. Nerd can be defined in the following 2 ways:

  1. boringly studious
  2. a single minded expert in a particular technical field

I hit both of these marks on numerous different topics, but most specifically, about writing and music. I can spend hours researching genres, composers or topics just for the fun of it, and my GoodReads to-read-list will never be fully read. These activities are solitary, and I like being alone—very different than lonely.

I grew up playing the classical violin– another solitary activity. I was under the age of 5 when I started, so I had to grow physically with the instrument. When you move from one size of a violin to another, your world shifts all over again. The finger spaces feel like mountains. My violin teacher believed in repetition until memorization.  These thoughts were to help combat the growing pains. If I practiced enough then I would have the right combination of fingering and bowing in my head, so as to focus on the other factors shifting around–such as the size of the violin, or someone in the audience sneezing etc etc.

To this day, I can hum to you a “practice spot.” We would rehearse the same bar of music for an hour straight–never more than a single line. I would be assigned an etude, a scale and maybe if I sounded okay, she would give me a little excerpt of pieces to get ahead on. She believed in muscle memory, and believed that nerves could be ironed out by preparation. Aspects of this way of thinking can be beneficial, and I was a nervous player. She slowly helped me to see that I could prepare, and if I felt prepared, I was not such a nervous wreck in other situations.

It was the year before high school. I had practiced so hard, and done everything I thought I could and…I had wanted to be moved up to the Youth Orchestra, desperately. They were going to Carnegie Hall that year. All of my other violin friends made it. But… I had botched the audition. A full year of work, decided in less than 5 minutes. My bow hit the string weird from the start. Everything I had practiced seemed to go out the window. I had practiced the opening over and over, and it didn’t matter. I was not playing Mozart, I was playing some notes I strung together. They gave me the sight reading, and it was like I didn’t know how to read music. I left the audition feeling smaller than when I started the violin.

So it came as a small reprieve, a small grace that I was going away for camp that summer. I didn’t need to be around the disappointed gaze of my violin teacher—her other students had made it, and somehow it felt like I hadn’t prepared enough. Point Counter Point was in Vermont–no cell service, a small cabin with roommates and it was on a lake. I learned viola that year, and made friendships, and skipped practice to read on the dock. I was fully 14, and it didn’t matter here what orchestra I was in at home, as long as I practiced here–I got to make a fresh start.

The following summer, another one of my violin teacher’s students ended up attending the music camp as well. It is such a vital part to feel connected to other youths who liked doing similar things, so I understand now why my violin teacher pushed us both to attend. I believe it comes back to the idea of being alone but never lonely–we were never lonely while playing. Tara ended up being placed in my cabin. Even though we had grown up playing concerts together, we never really interacted outside of that scope. We both found out we had made it into the Youth’s first violin section, so we practiced together, we complained together–in short, we became lifelong friends.

Tara and I ended up at 2 more music camps together– a total of 12 weeks of our lives together spent at very, very nerdy places. We sat and calculated how much time per day we were spending on the violin– it was around 9 hours, during our summer vacations. We really loved it, but it was also a lot of the experiences we got to have, both playing and not playing the violin, that helped shape our friendship.

After high school graduation, neither of us majored in violin. We both still kept it somehow in our lives though, to this day.  For my wedding present, Tara sent me tickets to see the Philadelphia Orchestra because Joshua Bell, my idol was playing. She lives in a different state, but I cried because all these years later, we still are thinking about the violin and the strings of friendship that formed during band camps.  It was Ryan’s first classical concert, and it was wonderful to be able to show him this side of me, but I missed being able to lean in and say things only fellow classical musicians know. I missed Tara.

As Joshua Bell was done playing, the audience truly went wild. The conductor had pointed out earlier that there were students here from the camp that Tara and I had attended all those summers ago. I let the emotion of aging hit me, but then I truly let the gratitude seep in. We got to be in those seats once, and we had truly made the most of band camp–we ended up being big nerds, and we were okay with that in each other. We had found what it truly meant to be friends.


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5 Songs to Add to Your Wednesday

Monday gets a lot of attention for being “The Worst.” I have yet to encounter someone who starts a conversation with “Can’t wait for Monday!” but truthfully, same can be true for any Tuesday & Wednesday. Thursday there is the weekend within grasp, and Friday mornings aren’t too terrible to attempt whilst over-tired, should an outing, or a Netflix Binge session arise. And then thank the stars! The weekend is upon us! Work basically stops on Fridays around 3 or never, and the people in the latter let you know how much they have to work this upcoming weekend.

Each week ebbs & flows with our emotions, yet whole days are often prejudiced against before they even begin. So with that being said, I have attempted to try to find something I enjoy in each day. I have been practicing gratitude on the regular, and occasionally I attempt to contort myself into yoga positions, but I am by no means an expert on either matter. I have to reflect often on how far I have come on my journey and how far I still have to go. There are days where I don’t feel worthy of my surroundings or the people in my life. As if I must cast away everything, and start anew. On those days, it’s as if I have a broken record in my brain that plays my doubts on repeat AND at maximum volume. Joy. I have learned though, there are strategies to keep these at bay such as calling a loved one, reading or listening to music.

However, the most fascinating thing always seems to happen. When I listen to music or read or write, I find the peace I was looking for because others let these doubts out through these mediums I tend to consume. I see or hear the doubts of others, and see myself in the pieces. I let my thoughts out with journal entries, to remind myself how far I have to go.

Perhaps I am more drawn to certain types of lyrics, but below are 5 songs that I listen to in order for a pick-me-up or some writer’s inspiration. These songs help me to get out of my head, while still thinking.

1. You Don’t Know About Me– Ella Vos

Memorable verse:

“I wake up
this is my body
this is my war”

Listen here:

2. Coffee– Sylvan Esso

Memorable verse :

“Wild winter, warm coffee
Mind’s gone, do you love me?”

Listen here:

3. Deadwater– Wet

Memorable verse:

“And the thoughts that come in,
they come in stronger & stronger,
And it takes all of me to just stay out of the water”

Listen here:

4. Leave the Light On– Overcoats

I may break down if I let you look at me, I may break down if I let you look at me
Now you see me, now you don’t
Now you see me, now you don’t
Going going fast as I can, going going fast as I can
We don’t know what we are running from”

Listen here:

5. Groceries – Mallrat

“ This sucks, I’m lovesick, too important to rush this
I’d miss our kiss if it ever left my lips…”

Listen here:

What are some songs that you enjoy when you’re experiencing writer’s block? Need a pick me up? Inspiration? I am always open to suggestions.