Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Collection of Thoughts

Gentle Readers,

* Teaching Tinturn Abby ito my class went much better than teaching Songs of Innocence and Experience. I will admit, this is a first in my teaching experience.

* I think Farm Fresh employees hate their lives. I can’t blame them at all.

* They found Richard III’s bones while building a car park. There might be irony enough in that for a whole blog post, we will see.

* Though I never would have ordered it on my own, pepperoni and pineapple pizza with cheese stuffed crust is quite yummy.

* When “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do” comes on, you have to sing along with it. That’s a rule.

* If you are going to preach about pitching tents, make sure to say pitching tents. Still laughing about that, D!

* Midsomer must be an awful place to live. So many murders…thanks, Mystery!.

* Josh Groban’s new album came out today, All That Echoes. Go. Buy. Listen. Repeat.

Until tomorrow,

Miss W

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Wyrd

I’ve graduated!!!!!!!!

I was so, so ready to graduate. I’m tired of the endless papers, of trying to cram interesting readings into a ridiculously short amount of time, of reading badly spelt post after poorly structured post, of listening to students whine and professors drone. I love to learn, but college will suck the life and joy out of discovery.

The more I talk with other graduates, the more I realise how lucky I am. I have a teaching job, a steady income job, music students, and plenty of other things to keep me busy while building my resume. At the same time, I’m already looking at Master’s programs. While that sounds like I’m all on top of things, really I’m very far behind. But here’s the deal: I’m tired. Stressed out. I’m carrying anywhere from 30-40 hours of work on top of a full load of credits, and have done so for some time. I rarely sleep. I forget to eat until nearly midnight. Why should I kill myself with more school when I’m plenty young yet and have teaching jobs already? I’ll take my B.A. and be happy with it for a year or two.

Still, there’s an element of urgency in my search for a Masters/Doctorate program. There are so many out there: do I go with a dual Masters/Doctorate, should I do them separately, should I stay in the US or go abroad, do I complete my advanced degrees in general areas, or should I specify my degree down to one area of expertise? Oh, and don’t forget about the battery of tests I need to take in order to apply to programs, the grammar review I’ll need because I am the WORST grammartician out there (see, I even make up silly words), plus becoming proficient in TWO foreign languages. Yes, I said TWO. (Because speaking English properly isn’t hardcore enough, I guess.)

It’s all very overwhelming to think about.

Then, the other night, I heard this song. I’ve heard the song before, but never really listened to the lyrics much. (WHAT? I have other things to think about, silly people!) However, this one line of a song really jumped out and slapped me across the face:

You see, I think this is what a lot of us graduates do when we get ready to enter the “real world,” we get scared, freak out, and do ourselves a disservice by acting out of that fear. So here’s my challenge: let’s not act out of fear. It doesn’t matter if you graduated today or 20 years ago, don’t let your fears decide what kind of life you’ll lead. It’s never too late to change your fate, so let’s do it!!! All together now….

 

That's me!

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They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

As you’ve probably already heard, Amy Winehouse was found dead today. She was only 27.

Before I go into my main thoughts, let’s make sure we are on the same sheet of music. I find her death tragic. She had talent, potential, youth, and ingenuity. As with any death, it saddens me and my heart goes out to the family and friends she left behind.

That said, one thought keeps resonating in my mind: don’t make her a saint. Just watching the tweets flow by on my stream is worrisome. There are a lot of people lamenting her lost talent, lost potential.

However, she made choices that led her to this untimely demise. While her music made her famous, her alcohol and drug abuse made her infamous. Where her life could have been a true inspiration to up and coming artists, her bad choices cut off her potential.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from things I’ve heard this week, it is that drugs truly have the potential to ruin your life. Even a little bit of use can come around in an unexpected way and change how you thought your life would end up. Constant use, as Amy Winehouse’s life so sadly exemplifies, will eventually destroy you to the core.

So am I sad? Yes. Fame can be overwhelming, but I wish that she could have gotten a grip on her life and not ended up dying in such a tragic way. I hope that in all of this, the people who were musically inspired by Amy Winehouse will also be inspired to live clean lives: no drugs, no drinking.

If her life is to be an inspiration, let’s learn from all aspects of it.

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You’re A Firework

I can’t believe I’m going to post this video. But…but…it HAS TO BE DONE! There’s no way I can let such a perfect pairing of Music Monday and Independence Day slip by unnoticed.

To make up for the inanity of the song, why don’t we take a few minutes to reflect on what some of the Founding Fathers said about this awesome nation?

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

-John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

– Usually attributed to James Madison. Great quote though, no matter who said it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

– Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Want to read some more cool quotes about America? There are some great ones here.

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This Race Can Be Won

You know, I really love when God uses music to minister to us…especially when He uses special people to bring said music to you. For today’s Music Monday, we are going to jump back in time a few weeks, back to the days of stress, strife, and suffering. Those deep, dark, dreary days known as…Spring Semester.

I don’t remember too much about this last semester. All I remember is being exhausted, reading and writing lots of words, and basically mainlining caffeine in any form possible. I spent whole days and nights at the dining room table, articles spread from one edge  to the other, a few bottles of caffeine scattered in the midst of the papers, and me and my laptop valiantly plugging away.

In the midst of one such session, I received a message from a dear friend in the form of a YouTube video link. I almost ignored it – how important could it be? It could wait a few days. Then, I glanced at the time. It had been over six hours since I last took a break from this paper. It was time for a little brain vacation. So, I clicked the link.

Boy, was that the right choice. Such an amazingly encouraging song!!!! I could literally feel energy running back into my soul. The song was instantly downloaded from iTunes, and I used to to get through the next hours of crunch time.

My friend didn’t know what I was going through. He didn’t know how weary I was. But he sent the encouragement to me anyways, and that means the world. Thank God for friends (and songs!) like this to keep us focused and motivated on life’s journey!

Happy Monday! Stay strong.

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Pay No Attention To The Band Behind The Curtain

So, heard this awesome song the other day. Well, I really only heard a fragment, and ran to Google the lyrics before I forgot them.

What I saw…well, it shocked me. Really, really shocked me. THEM? THEY did a song like THAT? I was gobsmacked.

Thinking that maybe I was overreacting, I wasn’t careful when I started sharing this song. I let people see who sang it before they heard it…and I almost lost people.

Because, you know…it’s by…Pearl Jam.

Bear with me? Give it a listen? I promise, it’s Pearl Jam like you’ve never heard them before.

And yes, that’s a good thing.

Yes I understand that every life must end, 
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, 
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands 
The ones I love,.. 

Some folks just have one, 
Others they got none, 

Stay with me,.. 
Let’s just breathe. 

Practiced are my sins, 
Never gonna let me win, 
Under everything, just another human being, 
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world 
To make me bleed. 

Stay with me,.. 
You’re all I see. 

Did I say that I need you? 
Did I say that I want you? 
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,.. 
No one knows this more than me. 
As I come clean. 

I wonder everyday 
as I look upon your face, 
Everything you gave 
And nothing you would take, 
Nothing you would take,.. 
Everything you gave. 

Did I say that I need you? 
Oh, Did I say that I want you? 
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,.. 
No one know this more than me. 
As I come clean. 

Nothing you would take,.. 
everything you gave. 
Hold me till I die,.. 
Meet you on the other side.

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It’s A Cry and It’s A Broken Hallelujah

One of my favourite songs, and my favourite cover of it to boot! Happy Music Monday.

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Just The Way You Are

Time for Music Monday! This week I have something for ALL my readers…a song and a sign! I love this song by Bruno Mars, despite the little teeny-boppers at ColdStone rolling their eyes at me. The lyrics are sweet, the melody is interesting, and the singing is decent.

Add someone signing to it, and you have the perfect little video. Enjoy…and remember that you are perfect, just the way you are.

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America

One of my dad’s favourite composers is Tim Janis. For you PBS buffs, you’ve probably seen his specials on TV; epic, sweeping music overlaying beautiful nature scenes of America. So, for today’s MusicMonday, I thought I’d share some of his music with you!

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I Will Hold On Hope

So, I know that I said I’d be away for a bit. But I’ve been at homework for 17 hours straight now (including Blackboard wiping my test clean and a professor pulling reference information off the website). I’m a little…stressed. Just a bit. Yeah.

Since it’s Monday, I thought I’d share some of the music that is getting me through the week. Sarah first introduced me to Mumford and Sons a few weeks ago because of the song Sigh No More. Being the awesome English major that she is, she was quick to point out the major selling point: the words to the song were taken  from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Well, that right there is enough to win my heart!

Besides, look at that crazy arrangement of strings! Bass, cello, violin, viola, drums, guitar, banjo, etc…right there we are looking at something unique.

A week or two after this, one of my classmates chose their song The Cave as the topic for his paper. Sitting in a drab university room, the words really hit home with me…and I think with a lot of us sitting there overall. This one is a little rawer than Sigh No More, but excellent in its reality.

You can understand dependence when

you know the maker’s land.

So make your siren’s call

And sing all you want

I will not hear what you have to say

‘Cause I need freedom now

And I need to know how

To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I will hold on hope

And I won’t let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I’ll know my name as it’s called again.

It’s good stuff there…a little rough, but good. I like the fact that their lyrics can be honest, yet they still find a way to make them hopeful.

If you are looking for a slightly mellower sound from them, I have two more for you. The first one has a beautifully British title: Thistle & Weeds.

But plant your hope with good seeds

Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds

Rain down, rain down on me.

The other one I love is Awake My Soul. It’s laid back and lyrically poignant.

Awake my soul, awake my soul

For you were made to meet your maker

Caveat time: there is one song of theirs that made me unhappy with them. It’s called Little Lion Man, and despite all the awards it’s won, I don’t see any good excuse for the word they used throughout the chorus. So, I just want to make it clear that I am NOT endorsing that particular song. The others…well, they are just really, really good.

Oh, and you can now pick up the album Sigh No More at your local Starbucks! And, you can hear the songs there too! It’s a nice change from some of the weeping and wailing we’ve had in the stores recently.

There you have it. I hope you enjoy…and have a good week.

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