Monday, September 29, 2008

Musical Monday

Opera Notes

I attended Mozart's Marriage of Figaro as planned on Friday evening. I have to confess that it all exceeded my expectations. My only regret is that I would love to be able to go to every performance that is is scheduled here in town.

The Marriage of Figaro is actually a sequel to The Barber of Seville. But I have yet to see The Barber of Seville. So, I guess I am doing this in reverse here. Anyhow...

Mozart is known for weaving into his operas beauty, humor, tenderness, forgiveness, and enlightenment. The Marriage of Figaro is no exception to this. What can I say? I am a sucker for happy endings. Mostly, I think I enjoyed the comic aspects of the opera. There is a saying that Bach taught us to pray and that Mozart taught us to laugh. I still have the giggles from the Count referring to his servant Cherubino as "That Cherub from Hell".

Cupcakes were served to the members of audience after the opera to celebrate the marriage of Figaro. Nice touch.

Here is a video clip of perhaps the most popular aria (Porgi Amor) from The Marriage of Figaro. It brings tears to my eyes--every time:

An English translation I found:
"God above, hear my prayer. Ease my pain and grant me peace.
Oh, return the love I've cherished, or give my aching heart release.
Oh, please let this torment cease!
Tell me why his love has faded. Let me know in what way I
can win back the man I married. God of love, heed my cry.
Oh, heed my cry.
If my love is lost forever, then take pity and let me die."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What LOLCAT I am:

Your result for The Which Lolcat Are You? Test...

Sad Cookie Cat

You are the classic Shakespearian tragedy of the lolcat universe. The sad story of a baking a cookie, succumbing to gluttony, and in turn consuming the very cookie that was to be offered. Bad grammar ensues.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Take The Which Lolcat Are You? Test at HelloQuizzy

The results don't surprise me one bit. Not one bit.
(h/t Miz Minka)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

more animals

I can so relate as I have said those very same words whenever I have fallen into a mud pool or bog. You know, you do get stuck in those!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Marriage of Figaro

Come Friday evening, this labrat will set aside my labcoat and instead don red brocade and black chiffon. The occasion? A girl's night out to see a full scale production of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.

It has been an opera I have been wanting to see for years. I do believe it is Mozart's most beloved opera. Nothing can keep me from going.

For those interested, here is Sull'Aria from the Marriage of Figaro. I would like to say it is perhaps the most beautiful duet I have ever heard:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Adventures with kittens

I think I am actually starting to get used to my fingers, toes, hair, nose, and ears being nibbled on by my foster kittens--sort of. At least I am finding more creative ways to deal with "teething kittens" or kittens who like to explore the world with their mouths--just like human babies.

Anyhow, my foster kitten, Boy, came to me in the evening and started to nibble away at my fingers while I was trying to read. Not conducive to reading. Then he decided to nibble on my ears (very distracting). Then he was nuzzling into my neck (cute, but still distracting). He was very determined. I figured he wanted something, but could not figure out what. Remembering that he was a bottle fed kitten, I got an idea.

I went into the kitchen and prepared a bowl of warm kitten milk replacement. Both Gumdrop and Boy lapped it all up.

I then had two kittens fall asleep content with bellies full of warm milk.

Problem solved.

(Above picture of Boy taken by RCAF volunteer)

Musical Monday

I heard this piece on the radio while driving and found it simply enchanting:

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Friday Cat Blogging

Fostering two kittens has been an adventure. I had forgotten what it is like having kittens.

Here are some things I have discovered over the past week:

1. I found an entire stash of socks under my bed. Most likely culprit is Gumdrop.
2. The majority of cat toys have been shredded and chewed into pieces. Yes, cat toys are not meant to last forever and I periodically replace them. However, it looks as though there has been a simultaneous detonation of them.
3. Kittens go through a teething period like baby humans. Therefore, the kittens are fond of chewing on things—mostly my fingers and toes when I am trying to sleep.
4. Kittens like to exercise and work on their climbing abilities—especially on my legs.

Friday Cat Blogging

Meet Gumdrop. She was named for her little "gumdrop nose".

I was asked to foster this kitten named Gumdrop. A sweet Calico rescued from the projects whose fate would have likely been “Pit Bull bait” for training dogs to fight.

When she came to my home for fostering, she had serious abuse issues. This was evident in her behavior. She would retreat to under my bed at the sound of any loud or unfamiliar noise. The worse part was when another cat would try to in interact with her--she would actually spontaneously crap. She would, what I would term, have “spontaneous butt explosions”. The rescue organization director told me that this behavior is a symptom of abuse that is typically seen. The cat is apparently so terrified it no longer can control its bodily functions. Anyone who has owned cats knows that they are extremely clean creatures and as a rule are very picky about when and where they eliminate. Cats prefer to be in control of their bodily functions. They have to be scared to lose that type of control.

For 3-4 days, I had a kitten living under my bed with butt explosions. Not a lot of fun. Even though the butt explosions were a solid matter, it was not fun cleaning and smelling the butt explosions whenever she got frightened. If another cat so much as hissed at her, her butt would “explode”. The only upside was that since cats usually only pass stool once a day, her butt explosions were limited to once a day. But her body rhythms dictated passing stool in the morning, so I could usually count on waking up to a butt explosion or her having one as I was in the process of getting ready in the morning. Not something I enjoyed adding to my morning routine.

However, providing her with a safe a quiet home environment has done wonders for her. She no longer has any butt explosions (it has been over a week since her last butt explosion). She has stopped living under the bed and spends her time in one of the windows or sleeping on the bed. She now actually initiates play with the adult cats and the other kitten I am fostering. She bounces around the house like a very normal happy kitten.

Whatever abuse issues she had, she has gotten over it. She is friendly, curious, playful, and sweet. She will make a really wonderful cat for whoever adopts her. She loves to play and tap my legs when I walk by—very bold considering the frightened kitten she used to be. The way she acts now, one would never guess she had a terrible past.

I believe that she has blossomed into a sweet wonderful creature because I provided for her a safe, quiet, and nurturing environment for her to recover-- this is why I choose to foster cats for a rescue organization. I can’t save and help all the abused animals in the world. But I am able to make a difference in one at a time.

(picture taken by an one of the rescue organization volunteers)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Suits my mood

Let's just say I am stewing a bit. Let's just say this expresses my mood quite well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Musical Monday

Metal meets Orchestra

Dr. D. seems to be expanding my musical horizons. He has introduced me to the music of Yngwie Johann Malmsteen. Although I am not a fan of metal (I am a simple baroque girl myself), I am just wowed by Malmsteen. His own composition of Icarus Dream Fanfare from Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor Op. 1 is just simply amazing. His playing is flawless, precise, and clean. He is just amazing. Incredible musician and composer.

Dr. D. himself got to meet Malmsteen and have his guitar signed by him (which Dr. D. was kind enough to show me and play for me).

Note the scalloped fingerboard of the guitar. It is a favorite of Malmsteen. Interestingly enough, Malmsteen is also a great lover of baroque music and his compositions are heavily influenced by baroque music.

Who would have thought I would enjoy metal with orchestra? I also like his "baroque-esque" shirt and jacket. Nice touch.

Icarus Dream Fanfare:

Here is his Prelude to April and Toccata from the same Concerto Suite:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Star Trek Saturday

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Remembrance

9/11--never forget. Never.

There's a hole in the world tonight
There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
There's a hole in the world tonight
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

They say that anger is just love disappointed
They say that love is just a state of mind.
But all this fighting over who is anointed,
Oh, how can people be so blind?

There's a hole in the world tonight
There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
There's a hole in the world tonight
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

Oh, they tell me there's a place over yonder
Cool water running through the burning sand
Until we learn to love one another,
We will never reach the Promised Land.

There's a hole in the world tonight,
There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
There's a hole in the world tonight
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

(There's a hole in the world tonight)
They say that anger is just love disappointed
(There's a cloud of fear and sorrow)
They say that love is just a state of mind
(There's a hole in the world tonight)
But all this fighting over who will be anointed
(Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow)
Oh, how can people be so blind?

There's a hole in the world tonight
(Hole in the world)
There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
(Fear and sorrow)
There's a hole in the world tonight
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow
(Repeat 4x)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autumn Leaves

There is a slight crispness to the air and the trees are just beginning to show their early fall colors. A slight melancholy fills my heart as sad memories fill my thoughts.

Here is my favorite version of Autumn Leaves. Suits my mood and I never grow tired of listening to it:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Carnivorous Plants

This past summer I spent some time looking for and photographing carnivorous plants (pitcher plants, sundews, venus-fly traps, bladderworts, etc). Even managed to fall into a bog in the process of photographing one (not going to write about that).

Anyhow, found this video on carnivorous plants that I think is cool:

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sins of the Writer

They say that confession is good for the soul. So here is mine for the activities of this past week:

1. The brain does indeed use glucose as its primary energy source (ketones when glucose is depleted). However, eating an entire pint of butter pecan ice cream from Honey Hut Ice Cream Shoppe in one sitting does not relieve writer’s block. Just gives me a huge sugar high and than makes me take a nap--no writing gets done.
2. When doing something mentally taxing as writing a dissertation, it is important to keep a steady glucose supply to the brain. However, eating an entire tray of cookies does not make the writing go faster or better—the brain can only use so much glucose despite the frenzied mental activity.
3. Speaking of cookies, every time I write one sentence of my dissertation does not warrant a “reward” ratio of one chocolate chip cookie. I will not even mention how many cookies one page added up to. A reward ratio of 5 pages to one small cookie is probably ok.
4. Staying up late to work on my dissertation does burn extra calories than a typical day of going to bed at a normal time. However, it does not burn enough extra calories to warrant a Big Mac on two consecutive days. Maybe running a marathon might warrant those extra calories and fat, but writing a dissertation, no.
5. Again, getting up a few hours early does not warrant the extra fat and calories in a sausage McGriddle. See confession and point number 4.
6. Eating a box of truffles is not considered proper pharmacological intervention for depression and anxiety.

I repent. I realize that “destroying” my body is not going to help the dissertation writing. Leftover cookies go in the freezer. It is back to healthy eating to make up for this week of sins.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Making my mark in the world

(Picture of Porsche RS Spyder taken at the 2008 Mid-Ohio Le Mans Series)

Well, it would seem that I can't always hide behind my lens and be an introvert. It turns out that the Porsche Club of Ohio are using my photographs of the pictures I took of the Porsches. I got the following email today:


So, the Porsche owners of Ohio will be seeing my photographs with my name!

Cool, just cool.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008



Last night I took Phantom, my foster cat, to PetSmart to meet his prospective adoptive parents. Turns out he got adopted by them and is in his new home. Sure do love happy endings.

Although Phantom will be missed, I ended up taking two itty bitty kitties (9 weeks) home for the evening. They needed to be taken to the vet's in the morning and I was asked if I could do that since it was along my morning route. So I just had them for the evening. They have already been pre-adopted and will be going to their new homes as soon as they are properly vetted and recovered.

Turned out to be an enjoyable evening having two little kittens all to myself for the night. One had me worried because I almost ended up rolling over on it because somehow (don't know how) one of them made it up on the bed next to me. Having to report to a prosecuting attorney, who knows most of the judges in Lake County, that I flattened one of her rescue kittens would not have been a good thing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Pain of a Dissertation

As I am trying to write my dissertation, I reflect on how difficult the whole process can be. It is a solitary and lonely activity. It is an exercise in pain. No joke—the bottle of ibuprophen is never far from my reach. Couple that with anxiety and depression and it makes me wonder how anyone ever manages to get a Ph.D.

Each morning I wake up thinking I want to quit. Find some job, any job, and make all this pain go away. Wishing that I would be free to enjoy life and not obsess about facts and figures. Free to dream and nurture the idealist that is still somewhere deep inside of me. I want to find that part of me that was alive and vibrant before I started this difficult path.

Yet somehow, I manage to muddle through the day and push forward. Somehow, I manage to push towards that seemingly intangible goal. Somehow.

Some years back I, I met a professor who told me that her husband wrote her dissertation (they met in graduate school and were in the same field). She was pregnant at the time she was trying to finish.

I realize that pregnancy is probably no picnic. But I can’t help but find myself wishing that it would be nice if someone wrote my dissertation for me. Can’t help but find myself thinking that I would take pregnancy and giving birth over having to write this damn thing.
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